Archive for March, 2013

Reviews March 2013 week four

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013


STRANGERS IN PARADISE OMNIBUS SLIPCASED EDITION by Terry Moore due in June will be £75-00 plus £4-99 shipping within the UK.

We desperately need your pre-orders now, so I wrote a blog, linked to above, explaining why, how you can do it online, with links to Terry Moore’s own coverage and how to order direct from Terry in the US.

STRANGERS IN PARADISE is very, very important to me and this new edition, with pages restored to their uncensored form for the first time ever needs your support not later but now, please. Any dissemination would be gratefully received.

 – Stephen

The Massive vol 1: Black Pacific s/c (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Brian Wood & Gary Brown, Kristian Donaldson, Dave Stewart

The Kapital is crewed by normal people. Some of them are perhaps not the kind of people you would meet in everyday life (ex-mercenaries, freedom fighters) but they are still just people, human beings. And many of them are exactly the sort of people you do meet every day: idealists, students, environmentalists, people who volunteer to build houses or dig wells in Africa. They don’t have a massive arsenal of guns, they’re not mega-geniuses, they are simply a group of people who feared for the way the world was headed and decided to attempt to do something about it.

And then the world really did go to hell in a handbag. The icecaps have disintegrated, the earth’s magnetic field has collapsed, sea levels have risen, sea chemistry has fundamentally changed, tectonic plates are on the move and cities are swamped beneath tsunamis. Land becomes sea, farmland becomes desert, inland becomes port. It could be the work of some outside force, a coordinated act, or perhaps a rebellion of nature herself. Or it could just be what happens when you ignore the facts and carry on burning carbon. Either way, the world is still here but not in the way it once was. Money is becoming an artifact of the past. What matters now is fuel, food, clean water and staying out of trouble.

So what are the crew of the Kapital to do? What’s the role of a “Direct Action Conservationist Ship” when there are no more governments or corporations to oppose? When the whaling ships have nothing left to hunt and the drilling platforms are in flames? When the indigenous fishermen they used to fight for are now heavily armed pirates? Is it now just about survival; roaming the seas and staying alive? Or does their self-appointed mission still stand; to protect the environment which, now more than ever, is endangered by an increasingly desperate and lawless human race? After years of futile protest from the outside they have a chance to take control and reshape society; will they take it? And where is their sister ship, The Massive? Presumably she is crewed by a similar bunch facing a similar dilemma. We don’t know yet because so far we haven’t managed to locate her. Save for a few tantalizing Radar contacts she is lost somewhere out there and the Kapital is desperate to find her.

So once again we have a work of speculative fiction from Brian Wood which is moored very firmly in reality. The things depicted in the book could happen or indeed have happened already. He shows us a world in the grip of a slow apocalypse; not a deadly nuclear war or alien invasion with a do-or-die winner-takes-all climax, but a steady cascade of failures, gathering pace, becoming inexorable before our eyes. From man-made systems like government and finance to real world systems like weather and sea currents, everything shifts and leaves the human race off balance. But of course, being a Brian Wood book, this isn’t a grim, depressing diatribe, it’s an exhilarating, eye-opening first volume to a story which, hopefully, will run to many books. The depictions of the disasters and their wake are vivid and fascinating and the characters (along with their varied and interesting back-stories) are intriguing. From the ruined nuclear power plant at Fukushima to the abandoned science stations of the Antarctic we are given a little glimpse of the world to come and all the perils and opportunities it holds for people brave enough to explore it. The old world is abandoned, ghostly, left for salvage as the new world is taking shape.

So what will the crew of the Kapital do? I don’t know; I don’t even know what I think they should do! I certainly don’t know what I would do in the same situation. I absolutely cannot wait to see where this goes.

Please note: this book contains #1-6 plus the three eight-page stories from DARK HORSE PRESENTS.


Buy Massive vol 1: Black Pacific s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Joe The Barbarian s/c (£14-99, DC) by Grant Morrison & Sean Murphy.

“You heard all that, right? Make sure you eat your candy.”
“Wish me luck. And say hi to your father for me. If it wasn’t for him, none of this would be happening.”

In the Veteran’s Cemetery, where his father lies buried:

“Hey, Dad. You suck.”

Joe’s Mum is on her way to see if they can somehow keep the house. Joe is drawing in his sketchbook. The Veteran’s Cemetery is the location of the school field trip, and the double-page spread from Sean Murphy – with its senescent, desiccated leaves swept across the stormy sky, over the regimented rows of simple white crosses between the white Palladian monuments – will have you tucking your scarf back in. I love what he does in several scenic panels with the autumn trees themselves, the leaves all jagged and crinkled and brittle.

Sean Murphy (HELLBLAZER: CITY OF DEMONS) was a revelation. I’ve compared him to Chris Bachalo circa mid-SHADE or DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, but here he proves to be entirely his own man when Morrison grants him as much space as he could want to delineate in uncluttered detail Joe’s well-appointed attic bedroom reached through a rope ladder, then the deluge outside, and those tell-tale beads of sweat on the sleepy boy who emphatically didn’t eat his candy. What follows is a delirium which anyone who’s woken to a disconcerting semi-consciousness will be able to relate to; when you’re not sure how much you dreamed is your current condition. Is Jack shifting between reality and a dimension populated by his toys made animate? Or is it just his hypoglycaemia kicking in?

Sean Murphy switches effortlessly between young Joe’s flight from danger in his fevered imagination, and his real plight alone at home as he stumbles from his attic bedroom in order to find the fridge, to find something, anything with glucose in it. It’s deliberately, excruciatingly slow: by the end of the second chapter he’s only made it as far as the bathroom. On his back is the white mouse he let out of its cage; in his less lucid moments it’s a battle-clad, anthropomorphic warrior he’s freed from his dangling prison and who’s engaged in a war between Joe’s toys made animate. Anyway, he’s running his head under a bath tap. The bath is filling up, and it’s having a knock-on effect on the battle within…

Dave Stewart brings bright dashes of colour to Murphy’s beautiful silver birches. The fantasy landscapes are dotted with the white crosses from the real-world cemetery, and if you look closely at the buildings, they’re made out of Lego bricks! Also, half the fun is spotting exactly which toys are being referenced and I did laugh when he received a Star Trek phaser (possibly a centimetre in real-life length) for protection. The final few pages are beltingly well orchestrated, the worlds merging on the page for one final moment of pure serendipity.

There are scripts in the back, sketchpad ideas, character designs, and Sean Murphy takes you on a guided tour of the house, what he designed, how he drew it and why. For me, the architecture itself was the star of the show and well worth the price of admission; for any aspiring artist those notes are golden.


Buy Joe The Barbarian s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Barry’s Best Buddy h/c (£9-99, Random House) by Renée French.

“Barry, wake up! It’s me, Polardog! I have a surprise for you!”
“Polardog! I was having a lovely nap!”
“Your house puts me to sleep! What colour is it? Snooze?
“It’s grey.”

Brilliant, and there translated into English from American. America: when will you learn to spell?!

Barry is a bird with no time for fun. With his perpetually sceptical, half-awake, hooded eyes, he is like The Herb Garden’s Sage The Owl. He doesn’t like hats, he doesn’t like chats, he doesn’t like anything much. Barry is your proverbial stick-in-the-mud. Boy, but you have to put the effort in!

Fortunately that is just what Barry’s best friend is about to do, distracting the obdurately frivole-free bird [new word: frivole] with hats and iced lollies. But, oh! did you see Barry licking his lips? No, Barry hates iced lollies! Grump, grump grump! Meanwhile a small army of ants crossing the bottom of each page have been charged with giving Barry’s house a makeover with all the self-restraint of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. There’s even a random flag featuring a steaming pile of poo. (That will make the kids cackle!)

And, wouldn’t you know it? Barry loves it! He’ll still pass on the hat, mind.

Hmm. How much of a problem actually is American spelling for Early Learning books in the UK? I’ve been thinking about that with all the manga we supply to schools.


Buy Barry’s Best Buddy h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Severed s/c (£10-99, Image) by Scott Snyder & Attila Futaki.

Nasty, nasty, nasty.

A crafty placement of raised spot-varnish creates quite the chilling 3-D effect as a gnarled hand, dripping with blood, tears through the cover and its unsuspecting city of Chicago to reveal a set of eyes staring right at you that definitely don’t have your best interests at heart.

In BATMAN: THE BLACK MIRROR (softcover out now), American Vampire’s Scott Snyder proved he could successfully mess with our minds, playing upon our expectations to keep us guessing as to the protagonist’s much maligned innocence or psychopathic guilt. Here, along with co-writer Scott Tuft, he plays upon our fears, our worst nightmares of being lost and alone a long way from home, helpless and hopelessly trapped. Then there’s the matter of trust, and the sinking, hollow horror of finding it most misplaced.

One year ago young, aspiring musician Jack Garron stumbled upon evidenced that he was adopted, ever since when he’s been gripped by the secret hope of finding his father. Instead of confiding in his loving, adoptive mother he managed to make contact, and the last letter he received mentioned a fiddle-playing gig in the city of Chicago. That’s where Jack’s heading now, having run away from home to stow away on a freight train. But the freight train’s occupants are far from friendly, while what’s waiting for him in Chicago is even worse. What follows is a cruel breadcrumb trail that will take Jack further from home still; what’s so damnably clever is how that trail was laid.

Unlike BATMAN: THE BLACK MIRROR this isn’t an “Is he or isn’t he?” – we know right for the beginning that there’s a murderous, cannibalistic monster waiting in the wings, adopting a succession of seemingly beneficent guises and preying on the young and vulnerable, so when Jack strays too close for comfort the dramatic irony racks up a tension so taut it’s not true. As to his new friend Sam(antha), found on the freight train, just… don’t go there.

Attila Futaki’s art has a fine period feel while the colours are suitably dowdy, for this is all told in retrospect. Even the countryside is low-lit and earthy. It’s a far from comfortable read set in series of uncomfortable, bleak or outright hostile environments: bedsits and bars, hotels and motels and shacks in the middle of nowhere.


Buy Severed s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Batman vol 2: The City Of Owls h/c (JUST £12-99, DC) by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo & Various, Greg Capullo…

“…To all allies of the Bat presently in Gotham… I send this with the greatest urgency.
“Tonight, the Court Of Owls has sent their assassins to kill nearly forty people across the city.
“The Court’s targets are all Gotham leaders, people who shape this city.
“I have uploaded a list of the targets’ names, here.
“The Court’s assassin, The Talons, are already en route to their targets.
“They are highly trained killers… with extraordinary regenerative abilities. For many of their targets, I fear it may already be too late to…”

Misdirection. Yes, there’s been plenty of that about in Gotham City ever since its inception, as the Court Of Owls has managed to hide its sinister controlling presence virtually undetected for several hundred years, maintaining the illusion it was nothing more than a whimsical reference in a child’s nursery rhyme. Not any more, as following the events of BATMAN: THE NIGHT OF THE OWLS (some of which you’ll see reproduced here – see editorial note below) the Court’s full flock of Talon assassins are abroad at dusk to feed, wrecking deadly havoc amongst the luminaries of Gotham. Can the Bat-family save them? Some of them, yes. All of them, no. Read BATMAN: THE NIGHT OF THE OWLS for the full scorecard.

This volume, however, focuses entirely on Bruce and his own issues with the Court, both in terms of his immediate physical wellbeing as he too comes under attack in the Batcave by not one but several Talons, necessitating an immediate and seriously heavyweight suit upgrade to a rather less breathable number; and also those unresolved issues of a rather more personal nature as he finally begins the unravel the Owls’ involvement in not just his parents, but also his younger brother’s, demise.

I will say no more on that particular sibling-related matter to protect those of you who have yet to read any of Scott Snyder’s run, as the adjuncts and revelations he has made to the established Bat-canon during his tenure have been nothing short of genius. If Grant Morrison Bat-magic is all smoke and mirrors which gets you clapping and cheering, then Snyder is subtle, jaw dropping, sleight of hand to leave one astonished. No less amazing, perhaps more so. I also love the fact that whilst we are made privy to certain crucial moments, Bruce is not, ensuring that whilst we are left with an extremely satisfactory ending to this ornithological extravaganza, it is most assuredly not a conclusion…

[Editor’s note: Because DC released BATMAN: NIGHT OF OWLS first, containing BATMAN #8, 9, ANNUAL #1 as well as the rest of the crossover, a lot of readers thought it *was* BATMAN VOL 2 and bought it in good faith. Now those readers will need to buy BATMAN VOL 2 too if they want the rest of the story, effectively paying for 3 issues twice. I won’t *have* Page 45’s customers ripped off, so we’ve reduced the cost of BATMAN VOL 2 from £18-99 to £12-99. Ethical retail: it’s not just possible and desirable, it is vital for generating goodwill and loyalty. We’ll happily take this hit.]


Buy Batman vol 2: The City Of Owls h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Judge Dredd Year One #1 (£2-99) by Matthew J. Smith & Simon Coleby…

Dredd had been on the streets close to a year. The academy had prepared him as best it could, but it was here where he’d learn what the city would throw at him, in all its strange varieties.

“Quite a haul, and it’s not even nine o’clock.”
“I’m an early riser.”
“Convenient. You can be in a cube by midday. Two years.”

Yes, this much more like it. After my disappointment at the rather tepid other recent IDW Judge Dredd title, it seems I am going to get what I wanted after all. A no-nonsense, not remotely played for laughs, sci-fi/crime mash up with a young Joe taking names and busting heads. I say not played for laughs, but as ever Dredd’s laid back, Jack Dee deadpan delivery of his lines always makes me chuckle. Instantly I am gripped like I’ve been sprayed with a can of Boing by the story Matt Smith has opened with, of normal juves suddenly exhibiting telekinetic powers, some of whom then deciding to take advantage of their new found abilities for the sort of behaviour you just don’t expect from fine upstanding citizens of the big Meg! Good job we’ve got a fresh, well marginally less granite faced, Dredd, only just out of the academy determined to take down any and all perps as hard as humanely possible.

As he starts to investigate in conjunction with the newly formed Psi Division, it becomes clear there’s something most strange indeed going on, and despite his intense distrust of anything outside his comfort zone, i.e. punching distance or Lawgiver range, he’ll grudgingly admit the Psi Judges’ unusual methods are going to be very necessary in his burgeoning crusade to clean up the streets.

This title, if it stays like this, is going to appeal to Dredd purists and sci-fi / crime buffs alike. I would have liked to see an even more lean, sinewy Dredd, as I remember from the very early days of 2000AD, but at least Simon Coleby hasn’t gone for the steroid abuser look you so often see Dredd portrayed as these days. He looks like he means business though, and when that business is cracking heads with your daystick, you certainly do need to look tough! An excellent first issue, no need to dispatch a Rigelian hotshot to IDW just yet…


Buy Judge Dredd Year One #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Constantine #1 (£2-25, DC) by Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes & Renato Guedes.

I came to praise CONSTANTINE, not to bury him.

Alas, I am left with no alternative. The very first paragraph is a raging non-sequitur:

“This is how the world is supposed to work: you give and you take. Cause and effect.”

No, you can give and you can take; you can give or you can take. But neither action affects the other. They may amount to some nebulous equilibrium if sagely balanced, but there is no cause and effect at work what-so-fucking-ever.

Sloppy. John Constantine (rhymes with wine; emphatically not Constan-teen) would know better. And we have only just begun.

Against all American odds, I was dearly hoping that my beloved creators of ONE SOUL, MERCY, ESSEX COUNTY, THE NOBODY, Sweet Tooth, LOST DOGS, ANIMAL MAN and THE UNDERWATER WELDER might know, perchance, what they were bloody doing. They do not. This is so peculiar – so singular – for Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire that I am going to blame editorial interference.

This isn’t just a bad HELLBLAZER book, it’s a bad comic.

As far as a John Constantine chronicle is concerned, it is awful: gone are the socio-political commentaries, the dry, wry mockery, the ingenuity, the wit and the spirit of place. There is almost always a spirit of place. In their stead: superpowers! Yay! Just look at the cover: John can now zap you with a blue-tinged pentangle or some sort of shit. There is also a godalmighty cleavage cock-up here: I may be queer but I know a woman’s breasts (quite intimately, thank you) and they do not look like that, six pages from the end, bottom panel.

Also pathetic: the climax after which John walks away as cockily as he used to BUT SHE CAN BLOW UP TAXIS! How is John getting away?!

HELLBLAZER played by some rules, even when John busied himself bending them. That was what the book was about: guile. But without rules, you have no boundaries. Without boundaries, you have no tension. Without tension you have no reason to invest in a comic emotionally.

I have stopped caring, yes.


Buy Constantine #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Winter Soldier vol 3: Black Widow Hunt s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice.

“I like the rain… The way it sounds on the umbrella… The way the air feels.”

With which Ed Brubaker’s triumphant, epic stint on the world of CAPTAIN AMERICA which began with CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER comes to a devastating end. There are things worse than death, you know, and this is one of worst I can imagine. It is not what you think, no.

If for some reason you have failed to follow through on WINTER SOLDIER VOL 1 and WINTER SOLDIER VOL 2, you are hereby exhorted to do so. Butch Guice has been on blistering form with the mood-esque atmosphere enhanced no end by colour artist Bettie Breiweiser who made some very brave choices in volume one which paid off to perfection. Here they are better than ever, with rain than will soak you to your tear-stained skin and, boy, there are some neat Gene Colan riffs! Perfectly apposite as you will see, but I will not tell you why.

I have to be very careful what I type here so as not to spoil those books – particularly the second one – however…

“Here’s the thing about being under mind-control, the part nobody talks about… That you’re still in there… Some small piece‘a you is awake… watching. Like bein’ a passenger in your own body. You struggle to break free… but you lose… Over and over again… you lose… And it makes whatever you’re forced to do that much worse…”

The Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s loyal partner from WWII who went missing in action towards its close, presumed dead. He wasn’t. He was whisked away by the Soviet Union and brainwashed into becoming their deadliest covert assassin during the Cold War. Rescued from their clutches, he was finally de-conditioned, since when he filled in as Captain America when Rogers was lost in time, but was prosecuted for treason and convicted.

Then extradited to Russia for good measure.

Steve Rogers never lost faith. Nor did Bucky’s lover, the deadly Black Widow, who managed to extract him from the Russian Gulag. The Black Widow is Natasha Romanov, herself a former Soviet spy since turned Avenger, and former lover of both Hawkeye then Daredevil. The woman is lethal, possibly the finest hand-to-hand-combat fighter the world has ever seen. And now she has been kidnapped, brainwashed yet again, and sent on one final mission.

Oh dear.


Buy Winter Soldier vol 3: Black Widow Hunt s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers vol 2 s/c (£29-99, Marvel) by Various.

It’s basically AVENGERS: THE KORVAC SAGA with the additional hangover that was Henry Gyrich kicking the Guardians out of Avengers Mansion along with most of the Avengers themselves.

Collects THOR ANNUAL #6; AVENGERS #167-168, #170-177 and #181; MS. MARVEL #23; MARVEL TEAM-UP #86; and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #61-63 and #69.

Do you think there’s a film on its way?

Buy Guardians Of Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers vol 2 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews already online if they’re new formats of previous books. Otherwise the most interesting will come under the microscope next week, while the rest will remain with their Diamond previews acting in lieu of reviews.

Bad Machinery vol 1: The Case Of The Team Spirit s/c (£14-99, Oni Press Inc.) by John Allison

Dave Sim: Conversations h/c (£29-99, UPM) by Dave Sim, Eric Hoffman, Dominick Grace

Darth Vader And Son Journal (£7-99, Chronicle Books) by Jeffrey Brown

Darth Vader And Son 30 Postcards (£7-99, Chronicle Books) by Jeffrey Brown

All New X-Men vol 1: Yesterday’s X-Men h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Stuart Immonen

American Vampire vol 5 h/c (£22-50, DC) by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque, Dustin Nguyen

Angelic Layer Book vol 2 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Clamp

Higurashi vol 21: Massacre vol 3 (£14-99, Yen Press) by Ryukishio7 & Hinase Momoyama

Husbands h/c (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Jane Espenson, Brad Bell, Ron Chan & Various, Ron Chan

Mighty Thor vol 3 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Barry Kitson

Soul Eater vol 13 (£8-99, Yen Press) by Atsushi Ohkubo

Spider-Man: Lizard – No Turning Back s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Giuseppe Camuncoli

The Unwritten vol 7: The Wound (£10-99, DC) by Mike Carey & Peter Gross

Wolverine And The X-Men vol 3 s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo

Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit-Girl h/c (£16-99, Titan) by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.

Superior s/c (£10-99, Titan) by Mark Millar & Leinil Yu

Is This A Zombie? vol 2 (£8-99, Yen Press) by Sacchi
Look! Children’s Comics Festival in Oxford Saturday 4th May! Photographs galore featuring some of your favourite comicbook creators like Philippa Rice, Lizz Lunney, John Allison and Sarah herself in this ebullient blog by the amazing Sarah McIntyre (VERN & LETTUCE).

Interview with Eddie Campbell about the forthcoming FROM HELL COMPANION. You can pre-order the FROM HELL COMPANION here!

Kieron Gillen is interviewed about his new historical series THREE drawn by Ryan Kelly.

BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope – 12-page interview AND preview. Make sure you click on the blue page numbers!

Warren Ellis has written an original AVENGERS graphic novel – which is unexpected.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday. Here is the prologue. Not a preview, an actual Doctor Who prologue!

One of the key ingredients Matt Smith brings to Doctor Who is glee! Even when sad, he is full of glee. And enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. It keeps us young. I once saw an octogenerian couple ascend a set of stairs, discussing a book they both loved. Their eyes lit up.

Forever Young by Madness. Go on, crank up the speakers! You’ll thank yourself.

 – Stephen

Strangers In Paradise Omnibus

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013


Win Original Terry Moore Art!

Is this print not one of the most beautiful things in the world? Yes it is, and it comes free with every copy of the STRANGERS IN PARADISE OMNIBUS bought from Page 45.

Not only that, but Terry Moore has sent Page 45 the original art to this print, and we spent a full hour swooning on delivery day when we blatantly should have been working. Sorry about the queue that built up!

It could be yours!

“How? How is this possible?!?”


Everyone ordering and paying for the STRANGERS IN PARADISE OMNIBUS by the end of September at Page 45 (online or in person) will be eligible for the original, signed art. That includes everyone who has pre-ordered up to this point, and can I thank all of you who have done so. Your pre-orders gave us the confidence to invest an unprecented amount of money so that Page 45, a single shop in the UK, is responsible for a whole 10th of Diamond Comics Distributors’ worldwide sales.

This knocked Terry senseless. So senseless that he gave us this original art. Thank you, Terry Moore!

We now give it to one of you because, miserably, none of us here are eligible.

The winner will be drawn from the hat by Ian Culbard, the comicbook creator of all those beautiful HP Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes books, and artist on THE NEW DEADWARDIANS. We haven’t even asked him yet, but he’s a good sort and will keep it all above board.

Original Blog, Links To Reviews, And Ridiculously Affordable Postage Details

Limited edition! We desperately need your pre-orders now!

August 2013 sees the release of the ultimate edition of one of our all-time favourite series, Terry Moore’s  STRANGERS IN PARADISE. One of the key comics through which Page 45 earned its reputation for promoting quality and diverstiy, SiP was so many women’s first comic fiction which – with its craft, heart and humanity – then made them customers for life.

It will come complete, slipcased with a brand-new black and white print signed by Terry Moore which, for Page 45 customers, will be free of charge!

Incorporating every page, every story-ever pertaining to STRANGERS IN PARADISE, it will be a whopping 2,400 pages long and estimated to weigh a hefty 9lbs.

It will be rendered uncensored!

This will be STRANGERS IN PARADISE  as nature intended.

For the first time ever, Terry has restored pages previously self-censored to their original condition. I will be fascinated to see how much hit the cutting-room floor as well as which pages they were!

“Yes! I’m In! How do I order?”

Pre-order direct from Page 45 in the UK here: STRANGERS IN PARADISE OMNIBUS UK. It will cost £75-00.

Postage for the UK will be just £4-99 if you select “3 to 5 days shipping”.

Postage for the rest of Europe (including Belgium) will be £24-40.

Postage is for the entire package including the free, signed print.

We ship everywhere in the world so please email for other postal rates, but if you live closer to America you should obviously buy direct from Terry Moore himself.

Pre-order direct from Terry Moore in the States here: STRANGERS IN PARADISE OMNIBUS USA. It will cost $100 plus p&p.

“Why buy from Terry Moore?”

Because, my kittykins, although you won’t be eligible for our original art raffle, Terry’s own copies IF ORDERED BEFORE PUBLICATION (I WOULD HURRY UP!) come with a completely different print free of charge (please note: this is not it). Also, Terry Moore will make all the money from copies bought on his website. Also, also: shipping will be infinitely cheaper if you live in the US of A!

Terry won’t mind you ordering from us, which is why he is recommending Page 45 as the go-to source for UK/ European pre-orders. On the other hand: that other print, eh…?

“I will buy both!”

That’s the spirit!

“Why should we pre-order? We can buy it whenever we want, correct?”


It’s a limited editon and the previous hardcover editions sold out immediately.

Also, we cannot possibly order 100 copies of a £75-00 book for the shelves. It would break our bank. Remember: we sold over 100 copies of PORCELAIN in a mere 10 days.

Here Terry Moore explains why pre-orders are vital to the success of this project. Please help us to help him and help you!

“There are very few comics on this planet with the power to move me like Strangers In Paradise. So much happens, so much is said. So much of it should never happen to anyone and so much of it should never have been said. That’s life.”

That would be me. Although I should emphasise that it’s also very, very funny.

Click on any cover of the STRANGERS IN PARADISE books for their full reviews. Except for the final volume. You wouldn’t want to know what happens there, right? One of the best endings ever in comics!




Reviews March 2013 week three

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Loads of news and links below the new books this week, right at the bottom of the blog.

Pure coincidence (you could say synchronicity) but this week’s reviews seem to be a chorus of social satire. Oscar Wilde, Andi Watson, the manga… even MOOMIN is in on the act. Still, let’s launch with a laff. I bloody love this book.

 – Stephen

Hawkeye – My Life As Weapon vol 1 s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & David Aja with Javier Pulido, Alan Davis.

“Okay… This looks bad. Really… really bad. But believe it or not, it’s only the third most-terrible idea I’ve had today and today I have had exactly nine terrible ideas.”

Oh, Clint. Every idea you have is terrible.

Comedy crime with an eye for design so sharp that this is the first superhero book we have ever allowed in our window. Partly because it’s not even a superhero book, but mostly it’s Aja’s design.

There’s a charming use of flesh and purple tones, and a thrilling deployment of stark black and white with plenty of wide-open space. In one instance a newspaper clipping smuggles in the creator credits; in another the only mask in this entire series so far (apart from a certain gold-plated façade) makes for a belly-laugh moment you may have heard whisper of. I’m not going to steal the fun from you. Here’s a Daily Bugle headline instead:


Oh God Somebody Do Something

Fraction’s timing is immaculate. At least three of these stories kick off in the middle, at the height of yet another monumental disaster, the one quoted above then proceeding to count down through each of Clint’s nine increasingly idiotic ideas. Thank goodness for Kate Bishop, then – the younger, female Hawkeye – who’s smarter, sassier and infinitely more savvy, so often left to pull Clint’s fat (and occasionally naked) ass out of the fryer.

“Tell you what, if I die, you can have the case. It’s good for travel.”
“Think I have quite enough of your baggage already, thanks.”

Here’s some of what I wrote of the first issue before the spying, the lying and the videotapes arrived. Before Clint’s sex-drive got him into the coolest comic car chase I can recall, complete with some old trick arrows he really should have found time to label before dipping his wick. Bring on the tracksuit Draculas, bro!

By his own admission Clint Barton can be more than a little juvenile. The man with the hair-trigger temper and mouth to match has a long history of knee-jerk reactions. But for all his sins, this totally blonde bowman and relative outsider has a heart of gold and a social conscience to boot. So when those who have taken him in – the neighbours he shares communal barbeques with on hot summer nights on the roof of their tenement building – fall under threat of mass eviction, Clint can’t help but act on impulse, and you just know it’s going to go horribly, horribly wrong.

It’s a first-person narrative with a grin-inducing degree of critical, objective detachment. It dashes frantically, nay recklessly, backwards and forwards in time with little-to-no hand-holding, as Clint watches yet another badly laid plan precipitate a cycle of ill-aimed, flailing thuggery. At its centre lies the plight of a battered mongrel which Barton fed pizza to in order to win the dog over. But now it’s in trouble.

“What kinda man throws a dog into traffic – seriously, I ask you – traffic right now – rain – cabs – nobody watching out for sideways demon pizza mutts – c’mon, Clint – c’mon – nobody – nobody watching out – Can’t watch oh God…”

Now, there is a natural affinity if ever I read one.


Buy Hawkeye – My Life As Weapon vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Gum Girl: Countdown To Destruction (£6-99, Walker Books) by Andi Watson.

Fabulous third instalment of Andi Watson’s pageant of pundemonium, in which Grace Gibson attempts a week’s Work Experience at Page 45…

“It’s not about politics or a popularity contest, Grace. It’s about learning to be a team player.”
“I can be a team player. Just not on a team of idiots.”
“Sulking doesn’t change anyone’s mind. Try persuasion, flattery or charm.”

Fancy having your headmaster as Dad! He doesn’t half bring his homilies home with him.

Still, he’s much worse at school. Here they have finally extracted the space probe which crashed through Calamity Primary’s roof long before Andi’s comicbook records began, and it turns the pupils into a bunch of space cadets, fuelling and programming a relaunch. Young Neil Aldrin, perpetually in a space suit (they don’t seem to enforce school uniform), has always wanted to walk on the moon but gets car-sick, sea-sick and space-sick. So he’s rigged the satellite to help him manage the nearest equivalent. He just hasn’t understood the gravity of the situation. Pigs might actually fly. A stray cow as well. It’s a good job that Gum Girl has her feet firmly on the ground – thanks to sticking power of her superpower.

Anyway, back to the headmaster’s speech. He’s your motivational conference’s worst nightmare:

Oh, this is so much fun: so much fun to read and so much fun to look at! The cartooning is exquisite and seemingly effortless with forms and compositions to frazzle and bedazzle along with the colouring. But it takes a ridiculous amount of behind-the-scenes skill to render such blistering bombast without cluttering the page or cloying the eye. Its colours are as bright as you like, and coordinated to evoke your favourite sweet chews, but have you noticed how much white Andi employs? Not just white, either, but dotted-tone zones where others wouldn’t even dream of employing them. It lets everything breathe, a bit like throwing your duvet over in the morning, and the result is as fresh as a mountain spring. As to the production values, there’s interior spot-varnish for all the outlines. Interior spot-varnish – I ask you!

There are also sneaky little homages to prior super-powered pugilism, like Gum Girl sticking to the ceiling when her Dad pokes his nose round her bedroom door. Note the cobweb and spider beside her: that’s what Spider-Man used to do!

Also this outing: a roller derby dereliction debacle in which a certain someone takes Paris-envy to extremes and attempts to give the town of Catastrophe a monumental make-over so that everything can be skated over, under and round-about; and Doctor Tick Tock whose crime is to steal time from school. Typically he nicks it from breaks and lunches – never the bloody boredom of maths or French.


Buy Gum Girl: Countdown To Destruction and read the Page 45 review here

The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde vol 4: The Devoted Friend, The Nightingale And The Rose s/c (£5-99, NBM) by Oscar Wilde & P. Craig Russell.

My Mum’s favourite graphic novel of all time is P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s THE HAPPY PRINCE, so beautifully does it evoke unconditional love, self-sacrifice and caring for others. So impressed was she by its beauty, its dignity and its poignancy that she asked for the rest in the series. This, at the time of typing, is all that remains in print.

It’s heartbreaking. Both tales once more involve self-sacrifice, but in the first one struggling young man’s generosity is abused horrifically and in the second a bird’s goes unacknowledged. Worse still, the pain that is endured to help a love-struck student secure a dance is excruciating as a nightingale seeks a single red rose and alights upon a bush whose veins have been chilled by winter and whose buds have been nipped by frost. There will be no blooms this year, unless…

“If you want a red rose you must build it out of music by moon light, and stain it with your own heart’s blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins and become mine.”
“Death is a great price to pay for a read rose and life is very dear to all,” considers the nightingale. “Yet love is better than life… and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?”

What follows is absolutely shattering – the student’s dismissive oblivion, the nightingale’s excruciating trial and the fate of the rose itself – all the more so on account of Russell’s fine judgement over what to depict and how.

As to ‘The Devoted Friend’, it is the story of a poor but industrious gardener called Hans whose rich, idle, self-regarding neighbour preaches high-mindedly about the duties of friendship whilst practising all the altruism of a common thief. The miller’s sermons are full of self-justification in denying Hans hospitality or credit for flour, while emotionally blackmailing young Hans to give more of himself than he can possibly afford. Most affectingly of all, Hans would do anything to please and couldn’t bear to be thought of falling short in friendship. No, it’s not that: he couldn’t bear to fall short in friendship, regardless of what others might think.

“It is certainly a great privilege to hear you talk. But I am afraid I shall never have such beautiful ideas as you have.”
“Oh! They will come to you. At present you have only the practice of friendship. Some day you will have the theory also.”

Oscar Wilde: utterly charming whilst effortlessly scathing.


Buy The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde vol 4: The Devoted Friend, The Nightingale And The Rose s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Moomin Builds A House (£7-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Tove Jansson.

“Pappa? There is some villain outside!”
“How exciting!”

That’s no villain, that’s Mymble’s mother and her seventeen new brothers and sisters! Oh wait, it is a villain because she’s invited herself to stay with no warning at all and no plans to leave until Midsummer. Also, she’s oblivious to the wretched monsters’ chaos and destruction.

“Don’t they fight each other?”
“Of course. But I don’t like to keep scolding them. I just… pour some water over them… or lemonade.”

Little My is the worst, rousing the rabble into abducting Mrs. Fillyjonk’s offspring and tying them to totem poles. She’s relentless and remorseless in terrorising the Moomin household, while her mother takes a positive pride in what she sees as skills. Poor Moomins: always the victims of their own goodwill and hospitality! In the end, they can only persuade Little My to behave by abiding by her harsh ultimatum: she wants Moomintroll’s bedroom all to herself.

And that’s why he has to build a house for himself and Snorkmaiden. He’s… not very good at it.

Another full-colour slice from the MOOMIN black and white albums, presenting the ultimate in poor parenting and the dangers of D.I.Y.. Which is why I don’t do any. Parenting or D.I.Y.. See also: dusting, vacuuming, washing up… We could be here all day.


Buy Moomin Builds A House and read the Page 45 review here

Tokyo Babylon vol 1 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by CLAMP.

“Ghost and monsters? They’re no match for human selfishness. Nothing is.”

Well now, this was a surprise. My first-ever CLAMP and it turns out to be a searing indictment of human greed, selfishness, anger, hypocrisy, superficiality, resentment and the abuse of power in the form of rapists, brainwashing senseis and celebrity child molesters. Pertinent, much?

Ingeniously it is wrapped in the more pleasurable and so palatable cloth of both a dark occult thriller and a light as a feather boa ‘will-the-won’t-they?’ rom-com. It’s also a vehicle for the CLAMP collective to show off their love of outlandish haute couture with ditzy match-maker Hokuto wearing a succession of improbable outfits from what looks like a giant hosta to butterfly wings, gauze and a custom-crumpled, velveteen top hat.

Indeed the very first episode is played almost entirely for satirical laughs, as young Subaru is summoned to exorcise a fashion victim whose Chanel suit has become possessed by the grudges of those who eyed it enviously in the shop window then the rival customer the woman physically fought with for it on the department store floor. All of which inspires Subaru’s sister Hokuto-chan to deliver a deliriously vapid self-defence for refusing to boycott freon-formed cosmetics. You leave her hair mousse alone!

Hokuto is at her best when teasing her brother about his relationship with smouldering Seishiro, twenty-five-year old devotee of dapper suits and, as it happens, heir to the Sakurazukamori clan of assassins. He seems far too adorable for that – he’s a vet. Teenage Subaru, meanwhile, is the master of the 13th generation of the Sumeragi clan. They are both onmyoji, hence Subaru being called in to exorcise the likes of Tokyo Tower. There a failed actress who committed suicide is haunting the special observation deck. After years of struggling, alone and hungry in Tokyo, she finally landed a small speaking part in a major film but the diva lead, after weeks of stropping, pulled out at the last minute thereby causing its cancellation. This they are discussing as casual as you like on the window sill, and Subaru is sympathetic but Seishiro is adamant: the actress’s suicide also caused pain to those she left behind.

That’s one of the things I love about this series: you’ll get your omens and casting of spells, but at its heart it’s about how we treat each other, just as you’ll discover in the next chapter with the coma patient.

The other thing played to perfection is the love affair between unflappable Seishiro and easily embarrassed Subaru. For the most part Seishiro is respectfully hands-off but then with perfect comedic timing he breaks into mischievous mode to casually enquire whether Subaru finds him “Hot or not hot?” Right on queue, every time, Subaru is so flustered he faints.

However, everything changes when the subplot kicks in, catalysed by a vision in which Subaru encounters an enigmatic young man beneath a cherry tree, his eyes obscured by a flop of dark hair. And he tells Subaru that beneath every cherry tree is a corpse, which is why every year they bloom so beautifully.

“You see, once the blossoms of the tree were white. Pure white… like snow. So… how do you think that cherry blossoms turned that pale crimson? It’s because they drank the blood from the corpse underneath the tree.”

Now seemingly spurious elements take on new weight, like Sieishiro’s heritage. Also, Hokuto joked that Subaru had to wear gloves so she coordinated his flamboyant wardrobe around them! But it turns out that this was an edict, not a wilful fashion statement, issued by his grandmother, master of the preceding generation of the Sumeragi clan who had trained him in the occult arts since infancy. Subaru must never take off his gloves, even in his sister’s presence.

Towards the end of this first omnibus edition, Subaru’s grandmother travels all the way to Tokyo to speak to him.

“On the ninth day of every month, we perform a fire augury to predict the future. And I did a reading on you, Subaru.”
“What? On me…? Was it… bad…?”
“The Sakura… It said that the cherry blossoms are planning to steal you away, Subaru.”
“You haven’t taken off your gloves, have you?”


Buy Tokyo Babylon vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Crossed vol 5 s/c (£18-99, Avatar) by David Lapham, David Hine & Jacen Burrows, Georges Duarte…

I’ll freely admit I picked up this volume of CROSSED with some trepidation, noting that Lapham was back on the writing duties for an arc, after the unremitting, and frankly plain unenjoyable, incest and torture porn storylines that formed his two previous CROSSED volumes, being VOL 2 and VOL 3 respectively. Happily though he seems to have noted such an extreme scenario as the world of the Crossed does actually require some levity to make the extreme horror palatable.

Set in the early days of the outbreak this tale features a cowardly character named Edmund, always the butt of pretty much any high school prank due to his craven ways. Yet, ironically enough, it’s his hard-wired flight or flight-faster mechanism that’s managed to ensure he’s kept one step ahead of the nightmare. So far, at least! What we have here is actually a very entertaining story as Edmund careens from one horrific scenario to other, always escaping by the very skin of his teeth, usually at someone else’s expense, whilst fainting in total terror at what is going on around him. Yes, those not-so-chummy school chums don’t seem to be having the last laugh now! Well, actually they are because they’re all hysterical, flesh-eating, corpse-shagging maniacs, but you get what I mean. Nice cameo from the torture-porn titular psychopath star of volume 3 too, which goes to show Lapham can get this type of story absolutely bang on, surprising no one.

The other arc, penned by David (BULLETPROOF COFFIN and STRANGE EMBRACE) Hine is an equally amusing and of course gruesome number. Set at a writers’ retreat, hosted by a rather odd character who seemingly wants his guests so fully immersed in their deviant roles he’s given them that they might as well be in an end of the world scenario. Which indeed they are, they just don’t know it yet! Equally as enjoyable as CROSSED VOL 4, penned by Ennis and Delano, and the Si Spurrier penned CROSSED: WISH YOU WERE HERE ongoing title, I think we can now pretty confidently state this franchise is back on track.


Buy Crossed vol 5 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Earth 2: The Gathering h/c (£16-99, DC) by James Robinson & Nicola Scott…

It did seem slightly superfluous of DC, post-FINAL CRISIS, post-FLASHPOINT, with the all new versions of the various main characters inhabiting Earth 0 or New Earth as I believe we are now supposed to refer to it as (plus not forgetting the SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE and BATMAN: EARTH ONE stories), to even bother with an Earth 2 series. (I do remember reading somewhere that Morrison was supposed to be doing a series which was going to feature a story from all the different Earths (52 in total), but I’m not sure whether that’s been canned, put on the shelf or what.)

Anyway, DC has decided to do it, and I have to say, it’s reasonably good so far. The basic original premise of Earth 2 was to allow the Golden Age version of the characters to keep existing alongside the Silver Age ones, whereas this reboot has taken a different more modern approach. All set in the current day, this Universe’s Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman died fighting the invasion from Apokolips, which I think is meant to be roughly analogous to the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL 1.

Consequently other heroes need to step up in absence of the big three, but these characters, primarily Flash (Jay Garrick), Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern (Alan Scott), are not the versions we are familiar with. (Also, expect the appearance of Earth 0 Mister Terrific before too long apparently. and not forgetting Earth 2 characters Power Girl and Huntress have their own series set on Earth 0, WORLD’S FINEST.) Anyway, this first volume is pretty much what you’d expect, exploring the new origins a little, having the requisite punch up amongst themselves, before settling down to have their first adventure together. I’m being slightly blasé about it all, but it is well put together by James Robinson whose run on STARMAN I enjoyed immensely. Basically, think of it as the current Justice Society of America title in all but name, and you get the idea.

I’m not sure if it’s even worth mentioning the brief bit of publicity DC, possibly a touch shamelessly, generated by rumouring they were going to out a truly major character as gay, then making it Alan Scott, the Earth 2 Green Lantern. I can’t decide whether that’s a touch cynical on their part, slightly gutless by not making it a really big mainstream character (listen, if you’re rebooting your entire set of Universes, plural note, clearly anything is possible) or just a wise decision, as actually James Robinson has just handled it in the most perfect manner, by not making a fuss about it. It feels perfectly natural, which is exactly as it should be, rather than being a tokenist stunt. Now we’re just left wondering who else is left in the very crowded capes and tights closet.

In summary, I am going to keep reading this title myself, as along with JUSTICE LEAGUE and the new JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, it seems as though DC have got the approach to their big name team books spot on for the moment.


Buy Earth 2: The Gathering h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews already online if they’re new formats of previous books. Otherwise the most interesting will come under the microscope next week, while the rest will remain with their Diamond previews acting in lieu of reviews.

Barry’s Best Buddy h/c (£9-99, Random House) by Renée French

Massive vol 1: Black Pacific s/c (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Brian Wood & Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown

Eagle Strike: The Graphic Novel (£9-99, Walker Books) by Anthony Horowitz, Anthony Johnston & Kanako

Batman vol 2: The City Of Owls h/c (£12-99, DC) by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo & Various, Greg Capullo

Batman vol 1: The Court Of Owls s/c (£12-99, DC) by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

Daredevil vol 3 s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Mark Waid & Khoi Pham

Gambit vol 1: Once A Thief s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by James Asmus & Clay Mann, various

Invincible Iron Man vol 10: Long Way Down s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Salvador Larroca

Winter Soldier vol 3: Black Widow Hunt s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice

Avatar, The Last Airbender vol 4: The Search Part 1 (£8-50, Dark Horse) by Gene Luen Yang & Gurihiru

Vampire Knight vol 16 (£7-50, Viz) by Matsuri Hino

Bakuman vol 18 (£7-50, Viz) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

Pandora Hearts vol 13 (£8-99, Yen) by Jun Mochizuki

Negima! Omnibus 2: vols 4-6 (£14-99, Kodansha) by Ken Akamatsu

Tenjo Tenge 2-in-1 Edition vol 9 (£10-99, Viz) by Oh!Great

Tenjo Tenge 2-in-1 Edition vol 10 (£10-99, Viz) by Oh!Great
Breaking news!

More rounds fired off in a 100 BULLETS reprise: 8-issue BROTHER LONO mini-series!

Drawn & Quarterly’s Autumn Catalogue includes RAGE OF POSEIDON from Anders Nilsen.

Dan Berry interviews Ian Culbard on another Make It Then Tell Everybody. Dan Berry has the best interviewing voice and technique in the world. Ian Culbard drew our current Comicbook Of The Month, THE NEW DEADWARDIANS amongst so much more. Stick him in our search engine! Just… leave the doors open, please – he has deadlines to meet.

THE PRIVATE EYE, a new digital comic from Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin, absolutely free (but please donate)!

And finally, this! Video of Lizz Lunney at work. Brilliant!

Could someone – anyone – just tweet me that they read this stuff at the bottom, please , or I’ll stop?


 – Stephen

Reviews March 2013 week two

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

“Warily investigating, he affiliates himself in 1992 to a magical order, the Illuminates of Thanateros, temple of a New Cross recording studio. Chaos magic, though the name seems harsh. Bit of a mess at worst, more teen goth’s bedroom that inchoate pre-creational abyss.”

 – Alan Moore on Stuart Moore in Unearthing. Link to that new Alan Moore interview at the bottom of the blog, along with ancient film footage of Alan Moore talking about Swamp Thing.

Fanny & Romeo (£14-99, Conundrum Press) by Yves Pelletier & Pascal Girard –

This is a rather sweet and lovely book about couples and how relationships work or, in some cases, don’t. With its fresh and jaunty watercolours, each page has a brightness which prevents the ups and downs of the story from ever becoming cloying or oppressive.

When we meet Fanny and Fabien you can see that they love one another but the cracks in their relationship are easy to spot. Fabien uses work and money to deflect from his fear of lifetime commitment and in turn Fanny uses that as an excuse to ignore her own faults and shove all the blame onto him. We get little glimpses into their thoughts and we can see that, really, they both want the same things; they just don’t quite know how to get there yet.

Enter Romeo: not a man but a cat! A cat in need of a home, it seems. Broody Fanny is immediately smitten and Romeo seems utterly content to fill the role of surrogate baby. The only slight problem is that Fabien is ever so slightly, extremely, deathly allergic to cats… After a night of sneezing and wheezing he finds himself asking the fairly reasonable question; why one earth would you inflict that on someone you love?! And so the cracks begin to widen and we wonder if Fanny and Fabien are going to make it after all.

What I really liked about this book is that it is full of light and humour. We watch the characters wrestle with their feelings and although yes, love is a serious business, we also get to reflect in how ridiculous we can be and how daft many of our fears are when push comes to shove. In particular Fanny’s descent into overbearing cat-mother and Fabien’s parallel regression to porn-watching, man-cave dwelling, take-away guzzling slob are amusing to watch because we can tell that it’s just “a phase” and that eventually one (or both) of them will come to their senses and rejoin the real world.

Having said that, though, it is not at all obvious how everything will turn out and there is a real will-they won’t-they tension to the story. That tension is made all the stronger by the fact that these are really quite nice people and we’d rather like them to end up happy! Also, the cat is really very cute. Always a bonus!


Buy Fanny & Romeo and read the Page 45 review here

Muse h/c (£25-99, Humanoids) by Denis Pierre Filippi & Terry Dodson.

A masterpiece in line, light, form and colour, this for me is the highlight of Terry Dodson’s already prestigious career to date.

He shares the colour-artist credits with Rebecca Rendon and I don’t know who’s responsible for which individual pages or the elements within, but I stared at a single panel of the water-lily lake for ages. With the clever application of flat colours for the floating pads and graded hues for the water-surface reflections, they’ve created the equivalent effect of spot-varnish 3-D!

There is so much attention to bucolic detail with dancing sunlight and dappled greens that you can almost believe yourself out in the countryside, breathing in its fresh air as the clouds roll swiftly on their way in the distance. The sense of space is astounding, tall poplars rising vertically from the gently sloping, horizontal plains in front of the cloudline beyond, and casting their shadows at right angles over the cream-coloured paths.

Not only that, but Dodson’s lines are infinitely softer and more slender here than those rendered in the likes of Mark Millar’s spectacular SPIDER-MAN (definitive) with the most elaborate dresses and tresses and, yes, beautiful bosoms, for this is marketed as something slightly “titillating”. And it is, but in a much more innocent and celebratory way than the nigh-ubiquitous Euro-titty trash. Not that I am calling Manara trash – I really am not as my many reviews will make clear – but I find this infinitely preferable for dear, sweet Coraline here is never once bested by men. Every attempt at tickle is met with a successful, salutary slap.

It’s a wake-up call. It actually is, and you’ll see what I mean when you get there.

An elegant young lady in a refined white ensemble, grey gloves and a demure, floral hat is driven by stagecoach through a rolling valley to the gates of a countryside estate, where she waits on her case to be collected. And it’s quite a rum, steam-driven contraption that eventually pulls up along with the jolly Mr. Ekborn, grounds-man and butler to boot. Judging by their journey there are a lot of grounds to attend: they seem the size of a British county. As to the mansion which sits at their centre, it is a wonder both outside and in, with the grandest of libraries I’ve seen outside of Latveria accessed via a glasshouse the size of an Eden Project bio-dome.

Coraline is greeted at the entrance by housekeeper Guérande, and is finally informed of her duties: she is to be the new governess for Master Vernère, a handsome young man, causally but fashionably dressed, perhaps in his early teens. He is, however, surprisingly austere for his years. Precocious too. having invented a series of increasingly elaborate steampunk contraptions for all manner of travel and surprisingly specific maintenance purposes. He’s prone to lock himself in his workshop or library for days on end, so education is now what Coraline’s been hired for. She’s been hired ostensibly to help him have fun again, and she’s certainly got her work cut out for her. Even when it looks like she’s won him over with the idea of building a treehouse, he returns with a contraption to do it all for them.

“Thank you, Ekborn,” he concludes. “It’s perfect.”
“May too perfect. Well, since it is already finished, all we have to do is go play inside it.”
“More trivialities! I’m too old for that child’s play, my dear.”
“No you’re not,” she sighs as he darts off for more mad invention. “That’s the whole point.”

So what went so terribly wrong, and why is Coraline really here? She’s certainly having the strangest of post-prandial dreams, each beginning with two tailors munching peaches in her wardrobe then measuring her up for period costumes. Then she finds herself assaulted by pirates or cast away on a dessert island only to be tied to a pole and carried away by the natives.

“But I’m telling you, I can walk just fine” was so well timed, before the party’s youngest makes a lunge for her boobies.

“I’ve told you a thousand times!” scolds his mother. “It’s not polite to play with your food!”
“Excuse me?!…”

Just as things look like coming to the boil – and by things I mean the pot that she’s popped in – Coraline is rescued by a ridiculously beautiful, dark skinned young man, as lithe as you like, who declares, “Me Iday! Iday!”  The choreography as Coraline investigates their tree-top dwelling, crawling round its twisting branches on all fours (and now wearing no more than a tiger-skin loin cloth) with Iday reaching out in “hot” pursuit, is hilarious. His blue eyes positively sparkle as he administers some apricot oils to soften her stinging skin, while his smile when he’s told to turn his back as she finishes the job off herself, is a perfect mixture of innocence and lust rather than out-and-out lechery. Then he makes a grab for her boobies.

*slap* Another wake-up call.

Throughout these sequences (they are many and varied on different nights, but oh yes, a pattern emergences) there is thankfully no real sense of danger of either being eaten or molested and no more is revealed than breast or two. Coraline displays an indomitable resolve and an almost detached sense of humour, safe in the knowledge that she is in a dream. It’s more a case of “Here we go again!” and quite a lot of this is played for comedy.

Dodson’s compositions, figure drawing, body language and expressions are positively delicious from start to finish, and the whole book is suffused with a sense of joy.

Moreover, there is a point to all this. The dreams are so far from random that I’ve deliberately left a few elements out. Oh, and I think I just got the title. Yes.


Buy Muse h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Unearthing s/c (£19-99, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins.

“To some degree I suppose with Unearthing what we were saying was that you can’t separate people and landscape. That you have to consider them together. If you’re doing a work of psychogeography it will probably always end up as a work of psychobiography and vice versa. That you start to investigate somebody like Steve Moore, you cannot consider him separately from the place that he emerged from. The human and the human’s habitat are inextricably part of the same thing.”

 – Alan Moore on UNEARTHING.

Told in a blend of prose and photography, this is a passionate, eloquent but above all witty evocation of Alan’s mentor Stuart Moore and the suburb of Shooter Hill where he has lived, in the very same house, for all but three months of his life. That has to be pretty rare.

Alan’s no stranger to this sort of excavation. In VOICE OF THE FIRE he took the geographical location which became Northampton and charted six millennia of its legend and lore – its memory, if you like – through the eyes of its inhabitants, so unearthing its temporal strata. And, just like Northampton, it transpires that Shooter Hill is more significant in the grand scheme of things than it initially appears. It’s surprising what you’ll find once you start digging around.

The language, as you’d anticipate, is rich and imaginatively deployed.

“In 1969 I meet him for the first time, marvelling at his lunar lack of mental gravity, the slow and lazy arc of his creative leaps, the silver dustplumes boiling up around his shoes, one small step for a man.”

By this time Stuart has already had his imagination fired by American comicbooks, begun his own fanzines, worked with Barry Windsor-Smith, Steve Parkhouse and Ian Gibson on ‘Orpheus’, hung out at Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, co-organised the first UK comic convention and was amassing a substantial I Ching scholarship. Oh yes, and I forgot he scripted Tom Baker Doctor Who comics illustrated by Dave Gibbons for Marvel UK.

Anyway, it’s not long before a ritual involving a sword strung from Chinese coins leaves him with the sort of dream you’d ordinarily blame on cheese and the single word “Endymion” whispered in his slumbering ear. Turns out that was a shepherd boy who fell in love with Selene, goddess of the moon and so queen of the night and dreams.

Later he is led into magic and lures Alan along for the ride. This made me laugh:

“Warily investigating, he affiliates himself in 1992 to a magical order, the Illuminates of Thanateros, temple of a New Cross recording studio. Chaos magic, though the name seems harsh. Bit of a mess at worst, more teen goth’s bedroom that inchoate pre-creational abyss.”

Okay, so that was a dead end. Their moment of actual satori they would experience together, in private, without the need of black robes and chanting. Probably a great big spliff, but then that’s Alan’s equilibrium. The revelation is pretty well documented already, but never better evoked than here.

It’s a beautifully produced piece of theatre (with a secret double-gatefold spread – okay not so secret now, but finding it will be fun) full of exquisite and elaborately fashioned photography, whose cast includes Alan Moore as himself and Robert Goodman as Steve Moore. Steve only appears in a credit photo, dousing his impersonator with a watering can. The theatre never ends.

Nowhere in the fine print does it tell you about the tiny type, however. Some of you may find yourselves in need of a magnifying glass or, may I temptingly suggest, the UNEARTHING LTD ED H/C, also out this week which at a whopping A3 is twice the size of this softcover!

Sorry…? I have to file my horns down daily.


Buy Unearthing s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Unearthing Ltd Ed h/c (£49-99, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins.

Massive, A3, limited edition hardcover of the UNEARTHING S/C which is, I grant you, a mere £19-99, but you should see its teeny, tiny, type. No, this is a more manly edition, if you’re a man; a more womanly edition, if you’re a woman; or much more to chew on, if you’re a goat.


Buy Unearthing Ltd Ed h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Moomin Falls In Love (£7-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Tove Jansson.

“Why sulk? We are safe! Do you know the difference between the first love and the last? It’s this: you always think the first love is the last and the last the first…”
“Oh, shut up.”

I love it when young Moomintroll’s cross. His brow cuts right down into his big, black eyes in a glacial glare. La Goona’s horse is quite right when you think about it, though (it is she who is speaking first): that’s quite a shrewd observation.

One of my all-time favourite episodes taken from the black and white MOOMIN VOL 3 hardcover, and rendered here as a full-colour, floppy landscape edition.

Here we have a flood of positively Biblical proportions engulfing Moominvalley to the extent that only the scant few tallest trees and the attic of the Moomins’ household bob above the water. Which is odd because it stopped raining hours ago. Emotions are running as high as the tide – it is to wonder which caused which – and there are troubles of the heart in store for Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden when a beautiful but vain leading lady, Miss La Goona, is washed their way and takes up residence, much to Snorkmaiden’s dismay. Moomintroll can’t do enough for her, diving down to the kitchen through a hole in the floorboards for coffee, which mysteriously surfaces undiluted, and Snorkmaiden pouts with jealousy.

“Can’t you sleep?”
“I can’t stop thinking about you spreading a blanket over La Goona.”
“But she was cold.”
“That I am cold of course doesn’t matter.”
“Darling, you can have my whole quilt.”
“Take it away! It’s stifling here!”

“Women…” thinks Moomin as poor Snorkmaiden rolls over and away, sobbing her heart out.

What followers is infinitely more endearing than an Eastenders sub-plot, but bearing all of its hallmarks as everyone tries to second-guess each other’s dissemblance by dissembling themselves and poor Moomintroll is utterly baffled, completely unsure of how to conduct himself without causing offence or discarding his innate chivalry.

Meanwhile Snorkmaiden packs her bags (“I’ll go far away”), pops out of the window (“He doesn’t love me any longer”) and rows across the waters (“He will never see me again”) to the top of a moonlit tree.

“I wonder how long it will be before he comes to get me…”



Buy Moomin Falls In Love and read the Page 45 review here

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You (£9-99, Andrews McMeel) by The Oatmeal.

From the creator of the rip-roaringly funny 5 VERY GOOD REASONS TO PUNCH A DOLPHIN IN THE MOUTH, this does contain comics so I don’t feel like I’m selling out in quite the same blatant fashion. Even when that crime does spring to mind I remember we’ve made over a grand from those petulantly punched porpoise cousins, so who bloody cares?

Does your cat care, do you think? About you? Not really, they’re a species so self-centred they make my raging monomania look like benevolent altruism. It’s all me, me, me, now, now, now. Join up the dots for yourselves.

The best pages are when Matthew is thinking laterally rather than literally, like ‘If We Treated Our Cats Like They Treat Us’, the entire ‘Bobcats’ as office workers sequence and  “Cats love reflecting surfaces: nature’s vending machine” whose punchline is purely visual. Guess you’ll just have to buy the book for that one.

A lot of this observational humour like cat-on-a-keyboard is spot-on accurate, but in the age in which we daily dispense such witty tit-bits from our household, cat-coveted computers, a lot of this has already been done to death (some of it by me, sorry), and ‘Cat Vs Internet’ is here sadly spread out into so much space-filler. Also, although there are some cracking moments of ellipsis (the humour resides on what happens next, implied but unshown), our Oatmeal orator ain’t no Jamie Smart. That’s what he’s aiming for (and why would you not?), but he’s simply not that good a cartoonist or consistent a wit. Plus, of course, he narrowed his potential subject matter down by its very title.

Well, no, he didn’t. 5 VERY GOOD REASONS TO PUNCH A DOLPHIN IN THE MOUTH wasn’t just about famously benevolent water-based mammals. Many a T-Rex took it on the nose too. Then up the nose as well. ‘7 Reasons To Keep Your Tyrannosaur off Crack Cocaine’ was as genius as it was numerically redundant. Why would you need more than one reason safe-guarding your saurus from speed?

Our author could have expended a little more lateral investigating the tell-tale signs of other household pets’ predisposure to biting the hand that feeds, in addition. I imagine a goldfish, trapped in five spherical inches of transparent bowl would feel thoroughly psychopathic towards its briefly enraptured captors. Seriously: when you scooped a goldfish at a funfair (probably banned now), you were hooked for all of five seconds. Then you’d display all the memory and attention span of that which you’d won. If a goldfish could physically grow teeth it would turn into a fucking piranha.

On the plus side, there is enough here that made me actually guffaw. It includes, for example, the only fart jokes I’ve ever laughed at. Plus there are graphs for laughs and a cautionary diagram about ‘How Your Cat Sees You’. The fun there is that you will recognise its truths immediately.


Buy How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You and read the Page 45 review here

The Art Of Osamu Tezuka: God Of Manga s/c (£19-99, Ilex) by Helen McCarthy ~

To put it plainly this is the big fat Tezuka art book/encyclopaedia/autobiography you have been waiting for.

This is a huge book encompassing all aspects of Osamu’s creative life beginning with his highly detailed and beautiful illustrations of insects and illustrated quiz books which, as a boy, he self-published, then his dangerous excursions into anti-war satire working in a factory during World War Two.

It wasn’t until the circumstances aligned in the post-war landscape that his prolific and imaginative sci-fi and fantasy works, created whilst at medical school, took shape. Often these stories were not even in the form of comics as he was also active in amateur theatre productions, feeling out his early stories in the form of plays and manga. All this relentless creativity before he even became commercially successful with ASTRO BOY!

This extensive tome leads us down through the history of Tezuka’s life using his creations rather than dates as the chronological measure, seemingly ballooning his life during his most successful periods, which were frequent and often revolutionary in their fields.

It quickly becomes apparent that in the West we have merely seen the tip of the iceberg concerning Tezuka’s 40-year career in comics. We have also have missed out on some amazing animation, which he funded off the back of the comics. Think about that for a minute, because it’s more than a rare occurrence in the West that a comic artist could be successful enough to open an animation studio (in his back garden, no less) off the success of his comic; it’s positively alien. There are low points too: the accompanying DVD shows an artist in the autumn of his life having to change his style as he can no longer draw circles, the very basis of all his early characters. Although it turned off some early fans, this change in style pushed Tezuka to create some of the best work of his career: PHOENIX, BUDDHA, Black Jack and MW to name a few of the translated works. He kept himself equally busy in the ‘80s creating more amazing-looking comics, animation and even sculpture, and leaving behind scores of unfinished projects in the wake of his death due to illness in 1989. But the book doesn’t end on such a sombre note, and continues right up to present day, displaying his legacy in the from of comic and animation projects based on his work and a whole section on the magnificent Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum in his home town of Takarazuka and the smaller Tezuka Osamu World in Kyoto’s railway station.


Buy The Art Of Osamu Tezuka: God Of Manga s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Sleeper Omnibus h/c (£55-99, DC) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.

A great big brute of a book containing not only both softcover seasons of Sleeper, but also POINT BLANK and indeed COUP D’ETAT: SLEEPER #1 and COUP D’ETAT: AFTERWARD #1 which I don’t believe are collected elsewhere. On top of that are some swoonaway Sean Phillips extras: page layouts, cover inks etc. I love a little process material!

Hair-tearingly tense undercover espionage thriller deftly conducted by the creators of CRIMINAL and FATALE, which doesn’t just avoid the pothole cop-outs of most superhero tales when it comes to crime and consequence, it pole-vaults over them and plunges the protagonist into a world where there’s no soothing alternative to ruthless expediency.

Holden Carver went deep undercover just as his boss went deep into a coma. Unfortunately a) the cover in question is hired thuggery for a ruthless powerbroker with a brain sharper than a meat slicer, b) his old boss at the agency was the only one who knew so c) there’s no one around to extract him. With no light at the end of the tunnel (that doesn’t turn out to be a train) Carver’s just got to carry out the missions for the slime he now works for without completely killing his conscience or the friends who think he’s defected. Not a lot of options there. How many innocents can Holden kill before the total begins to chime with his moral concept of “too many”? And how long can he keep this up before his new boss discovers the truth, Carver gives up completely or – worse still – throws in with the other side?

Brubaker excels where lesser writers would leave us with more monochromatic characters: Holden Carver, undercover amongst the world’s most dangerous criminals, actually makes friends with some of them. He can’t help himself. They spend time at the bar together, they watch each others’ backs in the firing line and, hell, the man has a sex drive. What’s he going to do about it, other than sleep with the enemy? Now, there was an accident several years ago that left Carver incapable of feeling pain. Instead he stores it up to inflict it on others. Miss Misery, on the other hand, discovered some time back that, for her, happiness is a life-threatening disease: if she doesn’t inflict pain she will fall ill and die. Before each mission she charges up by dishing it out but she cannot allow herself to fall in love or, if she does, it’s a matter of practical survival to cause pain to the object of her affection by being unfaithful. And that’s the sort of pain Holden can feel. Isn’t that fucked up?

This is less about superpowers than about espionage, cunning and deceit, but every so often Ed provides little origins – parodies of standard superhero fare – to lighten the predominantly pitch-black tone, as characters reveal their past to their mates over drinks. Here’s Claudia talking about herself in the third person singular:

“All right, so where was I?”
“In High School.”
“Right, okay, so… in High School, Claudia was the girl all the gay boys came out to. (“– And no one knows, not my mom. No way about my dad, he’d kill me.”) She wasn’t gay herself, but she had always enjoyed the company of fags, the queenie-er the better, really. (“I was all snap! get out of my face, bitch, and he was all –“) They were funnier than most of the girls she knew, didn’t want to have sex with her, and rarely got jealous when she made out with some guy at a party. And so her early High School nickname was Faghag. Now one of her friends, one of the less queenie ones, was also a bit of a science geek, and one day she attended a demonstration with him. This kid was the most picked-on guy ever. Not only was he a nerd, but he was also openly gay, in a day where that really wasn’t accepted at school. So, at the demonstration, some jocks started pushing him, and accidentally shoved him right into the beam of this interspatial particle accelerator, and everything went crazy. Her poor friend was irradiated or something. She never understood exactly what happened. But in his dying moment, as he flailed for life, his teeth ripped right into her neck.”
“Wait. You were bitten by a radioactive homo –?”
“Can I please tell the story my way?”
“Oh, you go, girl…”

You’ll just have to pick up the book to find out the second half of that origin!

The art is shrouded throughout in a dangerous twilight, where neither you nor Carver can be sure who’s lurking round the corner, so you constantly fear for Holden’s safety. Phillips’ pages are full of atmosphere, a brooding intensity and a palpable sense of foreboding, where anything can come out of the shadows and no one’s sure what the other guy’s really thinking. Best of all, his stuff flows, yet he’s also as solid as anyone else. Check out the stormy midnight car scenes coloured to perfection, I might add, by Tony Avina.


Buy Sleeper Omnibus h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Age Of Ultron #1 of 10 (£2-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Bryan Hitch.

It’s over. They lost. We lost everything.

Civilisation as we know it is effectively over; New York one massive, mangled wreckage, its once vainglorious skyscrapers crumbling into the yawning crevasses of its underground system where the streets and pavements used to be. As lightning crackles rather than flashes overhead, something unimaginably massive hovers above the ruins – an awful, futuristic construction of unknown intent. Nothing and no one is moving. It’s dead.

Move out from under its apocalyptic epicentre, however, and although the suburbs look like a war zone, some of the tenements still stand, barely, and there are pockets of life like this hooker on the street, making a midnight house call. The thugs that answer the door are heavily armed, one with the makings of an exoskeleton. Still, open the door they did – and that’s all he needs. That’s what Hawkeye’s been waiting for…

This is off-the-scale epic, and I haven’t been so knocked out or excited about a Marvel or DC event in years. We’re talking the opening two seasons of Ultimates by Millar and Hitch. We’re talking KINGDOM COME which opens after things have already gone wrong and it’s about to grow infinitely worse. Only here, it’s already happened. Here it couldn’t really get any worse. Here it’s more up close and personal.

What’s left of Marvel’s Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men are all but cowering in seclusion, holed up in a makeshift, appropriated bunker, for venturing out means almost instant detection. Leave and you don’t come back. Leave and you won’t be let back – you could be tracked or tagged.

It seems that only one of them is prepared to take that risk, break the rules and sneak out into the night – even for one of their own. Somewhere in a basement of that tenement is one of their friends and colleagues, tied to a chair and almost beaten to death by a small army of humans armed to the teeth and two former crimelords you’ll know. They have an arrangement with Ultron. Hawkeye doesn’t give a shit.

Every single page will knock you sideways – the action is monumental and the atmosphere of desperation, almost defeatism, is sustained throughout. You know, apart from Hawkeye and the mate he’s come to rescue. I have deliberately kept this SPOILER-free for in any future scenario like this, half the awe is discovering for yourself what has become of your favourites. Hint: it’s not good.

I would emphasise that you need to read nothing ahead of this. You can just launch right in. On the other hand, it does have its origins in AVENGERS VOL 1 then right at the end of AVENGERS VOL 2.

Please note: this is weekly – AGE OF ULTRON #2 (not actual cover) is out now!


Buy Age Of Ultron #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Spider-Man: Dying Wish h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Humberto Ramos, various.

Oooooh, the final few issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* leading up and including #700!

What’s left of mop-topped minger Doc Ock has been knocking on death’s door for quite a few years now. Looks like it’s about to open up and swallow him whole, tentacles and all. Yes, Doctor Octopus has mere hours to live but determined to have the last laugh over the quipping, thwipping pain in the arse who’s been beating his backside forever.

And that’s when he discovers Spider-Man is Peter Parker, nephew of that sweet old woman he once had the hots for and to whom he was briefly engaged! Boy, that’s got to rankle.

Ah, but the man has a plan, and it is a cunning one. He’s going to swap bodies with Spider-Man and leave Peter Parker in his old, ravaged shell to face the funereal music instead.

All sorts of ironies abound in this final tussle, and although I was emotionally ejected from the proceedings by Ramos’ plinky plonky artwork, the surprise ending was certainly very different from what anyone could have expected, and set the stage a very new, very different SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 (which is still in stock – original printing, too).


*The final few issues, that is, until Marvel inevitably relaunches with a fresh AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 next year, before reinstating the old issue numbers as soon as they approach 750. You mark my words.


Buy Spider-Man: Dying Wish h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Sex #1 (£2-25, Image) by Joe Casey & Piotr Kowalski.

First off, Kowalski’s giant semi-futuristic cityscape is impressive: lots of ridiculously tall skyscrapers squeezed onto Saturn City’s central island radiating bridges like the sun, and then blotting out every square inch of it for miles and miles beyond. The inking effect is like Terry Austin with bits missing.

I didn’t find his sex scenes sexy – they were way too explicit for me; cold and clinical too – but then nor did I find them offensive. I found two of his so-far peripheral gay characters too fey and affected, but then I find a lot of gay men too fey and affected so I didn’t take offence to that, either. (There’s nothing with being fey – it just does nothing for me – but I cannot abide affectation. Get me!)

The storytelling didn’t strike me as particularly gripping, but then it’s a bit early to tell where it’s going. Basically a certain Mr. Cooke of Cooke Industries is returning to the fold after a sabbatical, but doesn’t seem that interested in doing anything beyond exercising. He doesn’t seem interested in taking strategy meetings, photo ops, or even masturbating like all the other punters do when visiting a brothel as voyeur. The one thing he is definitely not interested in doing is resuming his role as some sort of superhero (details sketchy for now) because I think something went tits-up and certainly somebody died at some point or another because there’s a grave on the very first page. Meanwhile, his current lack of vigilance in that department encourages playas to contemplate playing.

What I find very, very unlikely is that sex will prove remotely relevant to the proceedings: i.e. any thematic core or even central plot development thereby meriting the comic’s title. My entirely uninformed guess was it was chosen for publicity purposes so that dozens of predictably inane retailers would tweet:

“We have SEX!”
“Come to us for SEX!”
“Pay us for SEX!”

And indeed they have done so.

I don’t mind puerility any more than I mind fey, but I have nothing but contempt for the fucking obvious.


Buy Sex #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews already online if they’re new formats of previous books. Otherwise the most interesting will come under the microscope next week, while the rest will remain with their Diamond previews acting in lieu of reviews.

Although clearly this week some of these are merely books that have fallen off the system. I mean, Roberta Gregory’s WINGING IT is over 20 years old! But you won’t find many copies elsewhere, though!

Hawkeye – My Life As Weapon vol 1 s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & David Aja

Adventure Time vol 2 s/c (£10-99, Kaboom) by Ryan North & Shelli Paroline

Batman: Brave And Bold – Small Miracles s/c (£9-99, DC) by Sholly Fisch & Robert Pope

Avengers Vs X-Men: Avengers Academy s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Christos N Gage & Tom Grummett

07-Ghost vol 3 (£7-50, Viz) by Yoshiki Nakamura

Blade Of The Immortal vol 26: Blizzard (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Hiroaki Samura

Chronicles Of Conan vol 23: Well Of Souls (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Jim Owlsey, John Buscema & Various, George Roussos, Steve Mellor

Essential Captain Marvel vol 2 (£14-99, Marvel) by Various

Guardians Of Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers vol 2 s/c (£29-99, Marvel) by Various

Paradise Kiss vol 3 (£12-99, Random House) by Ai Yazawa

Penny Arcade vol 9: Passions Howl (£10-99, Oni Press Inc.) by Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik

Tokyo Babylon vol 1 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by CLAMP

Earth 2: The Gathering h/c (£16-99, DC) by James Robinson & Nicola Scott

The Amory Wars: The Second Stage Turbine Blade Ultimate Edition h/c (£22-50, Boom!) by Claudio Sanchez & various

The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde vol 4: The Devoted Friend, The Nightingale And The Rose s/c (£5-99, NBM) by Oscar Wilde & P. Craig Russell

One Piece vol 66 (£6-99, Viz) by Eiichiro Oda

Rosario + Vampire Season II vol 11 (£6-99, Viz) by Akihisa Ikeda

Winging It Part 1 (£7-99, Solo) by Roberta Gergory
“To some degree I suppose with Unearthing what we were saying was that you can’t separate people and landscape. That you have to consider them together. If you’re doing a work of psychogeography it will probably always end up as a work of psychobiography and vice versa. That you start to investigate somebody like Steve Moore, you cannot consider him separately from the place that he emerged from. The human and the human’s habitat are inextricably part of the same thing.”

 – Alan Moore on UNEARTHING. Read or listen to the entire Alan Moore interview here.

While we’re here, ancient video footage of Alan Moore talking about Swamp Thing 28 years ago.

A mischievous little piece published online about a certain Stephen L. Holland’s favourite spots in Nottingham – I swear to God that grave stone exists! Do you think I’d be so shameless as to plug Page 45 in there? Ahahahahaha! Yes. (P.S. They took out half my jokes! Probably for the best.)

COURTNEY CRUMRIN interview with Ted Naifeh about the series’ conclusion. Love what he says about the different between a story and a portrait. Perfect.

Watch this jawing-dropping artist in action, creating an entire tableau from scratch as he goes along. Sent to me by stellar comicbook artist Marc Laming.

And finally here’s the video for Dead Can Dance’s sublime Children Of The Sun, as storyboarded by KABUKI’s David Mack.

 – Stephen

Reviews March 2013 week one

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Goodness, it’s all a bit superheroic this week! Nothing that can be done about that:  we can only review what’s delivered. Still, I have had a laugh.

 – Stephen

League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo – Heart Of Ice h/c (£9-99, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill.

Oh, of course it’s a LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN book. They’re just not in it.

“You don’t seem much interested in the plunder, Miss Janni…”
“We’ve enough plunder… I wanted a challenge. Even father wearied of pillaging eventually.”
“Aye, true enough. Sorry if I’ve aggravated you, Captain.”
“Oh, we’ll be home in a week. I’ll be fine. It’s just this coat. It’s so big and heavy sometimes.”

Fifteen years after LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLTEMEN: CENTURY 1910 Captain Nemo’s daughter Janni is feeling weighed down by the burden of her old man’s legacy – his fame and his accomplishments – and is desperate to step out from under his shadow. Unfortunately he cast it far and wide but, if the truth be told, it is Janni herself who brings it with her, perpetually comparing her progress with his, every step of the way.

But now she has set her sites on An Adventure: an expedition to the remotest wastes of Antarctica. Unfortunately her crew have recently earned the ire of the African Queen and Prince Consort of Kor by whipping away their valuables under the watch of a certain newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane and a heavily armed, technologically enhanced party has been dispatched in pursuit. Also: just because somewhere is remote, it does not mean it’s uninhabited.

Weird and wondrous – and quite terrifying in places – I just wish we could have spent longer in the likes of Metapatagonia where the anthropomorphs speak French backwards. Each of Kevin O’Neill’s full-page splashes knock the frozen ball out of the snow-swept park, and Ben Dimagmaliw’s colours are richer than ever, positively luminous. What our literary super-crew encounter will be strange and awe-full but I will spill none of it, except to say that when time itself goes awry you are in for a storytelling treat. On the other hand it’s only fair to remind you that these LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN escapades are all collages culled from extant fiction, so… what other works took place in the freezing wastes of the South Pole, eh?


Buy League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Nemo: Heart Of Ice h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Rinse (£10-99, Boom!) by Gary Phillips & Marc Laming.

Featuring a brand new branch of Page 45!

Apparently we’ve opened a shop in San Francisco, but I’m not managing it! That is an outrage. Seriously, Page 45 is in this graphic novel. Look for the logo – we’ve gone green!

“There’s nothing like the air in the countryside.
“The smell of money is much sharper out there.”

Jeff Sinclair is a man who plans and keeps the map of any money trail hidden in his head. His job is to disperse vast sums of cash so that they can never be found, and certainly not traced. He is discreet, cautious, meticulous and methodical. Unfortunately for Jeff, not everyone he encounters is half so sage and in the space of one short day in sunny San Francisco three key encounters look likely to sully his otherwise clean bill of wealth. It’s about to get brutal.

Welcome back, Marc Laming! It’s been 15-odd years since he joined fourteen other artists here to sign at our second Independents Day, and if I knew he’d be returning in such fine form I’d have missed him even more. So many artists skimp on the details, leaving their figures stranded weightless and lifeless in limbo; but here every car, every bar, every single street awning is rich in texture and light, while each individual negotiating this living, breathing city must do so in step to its beat.

There’s also a renewed softness to Marc’s forms, a love of deft smiles, and the way Jeff subtly adjusts his glasses or keeps close watch from beneath their upper frames makes all the difference in the world. As for his women, I offer those reading this on our blog evidence of precisely why you need this series. I own that original piece of art. With its blue-line pencils intact, it’s framed above my sofa and is so beautiful I could cry.

We’ve had this in stock for over a year but somehow failed to publish our review written way back, since when Marc Laming has pencilled more pages than when he was first centre-stage in our spotlight. Many apologies to Gary and to Marc.

Lastly, Francesco Mattina has done such a cracking job on colours that after reading the scene in which the rain really pours down, I had to take off my jumper and slap it on the radiator to dry.

Thankfully I no longer need a hair dryer. It’s water off a bald man’s pate.


Buy The Rinse and read the Page 45 review here

Ravine vol 1 s/c (£10-99, Image) by Stjepan Šejić, Ron Marz & Stjepan Šejić.

I have absolutely no idea what I just read.

I could barely comprehend a word of this old-worlde high fantasie. But then it is 10am on a Sunday morning, so I am blisteringly drunk.

There be dragons and sigils and ancient animosities. And a right old regal bust-up to boot. Basically (I think) a king went off his rocker so his daughter’s warrior-husband had to put him out of everyone’s misery. His daughter’s husband appears to have octopoid tentacles where any other self-respecting protagonist would brandish two legs and two feet. Two seems to be the regular requirement, not eight all hissing like snakes. But I’m really not sure: the back-history prologue droned on for so long, it was like your worst nightmare of video-game scene-setting. “Stop it! Shut up! I want to play the fucking game!”

It is, however, ravishingly beautiful.

I’m being objective there: it’s not my idea of beautiful – I’m more of a Jon J. Muth / Glyn Dillon / Caravaggio bent when it comes to painting and more of an Andi Watson / Tom Gauld / Sean Phillips fan when it comes to line art – but, but, but, I admire the craft and those who crave dragons will cream themselves. There are cathedrals and sundry other edifices whose facades will gobsmack the fantasy brigade. Seriously: they exceed anything you’ll see on Skyrim apart from the Northern Lights. I saw them last night, during my second venture there. Funny how I managed to play it for 500 hours last time round without encountering the Northern Lights at all. Shall we discuss Skyrim instead? My Clopsy is something to behold.*

Back to the brink of the RAVINE, however, and every chapter plate is divine: ancient book covers boasting metallic, moon-shaped crescents festooned with blue-jewelled eyes on weathered leather binding. Pewter dragons in semi-relief. Did I mention there are dragons?

*Clopsy is my goat on Skyrim. Some fail to believe I even have a goat on Skyrim, just like they refuse to believe I’m gay-married there. Trust me, you can be gay-married on Skyrim – I’m just not going to tell you how. It was the easiest courtship of my life, and has been by far my most satisfying relationship to date. *cries*


Buy Ravine vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths vol 2 h/c (£14-99, Archaia) by Joshua Dysart & Alex D. M. Sheikman.

In lieu of a review, for I ain’t read either volume, I crave your indulgence for another of mine. Indulgences, that is. One of my many nicknames over the years was Gelflin. I know it’s hard to believe these days, what with me looking like the sickly child of Uncle Fester and Nosferatu but with my ski-slope nose I was pretty once. Well, after the artful application of much slap and kohl.

My primary pseudonym is Peter. It endures to this day in post-punk circles, possibly because it doesn’t sound like a nickname. It was so prevalent in the ‘80s that even the closest of friends sometimes took ten years to realise my real name was Beelzebub. That one also owes itself to my ski-slope nose and consequent youthful demeanour: it was Peter as in Peter Pan.


Shut up.

Other nicknames have included Jimmy Dean (must be pronounced in a broad Glaswegian accent), “boss” (no one has actually ever regarded me as their boss – it’s pure mockery on Tom’s part) and, when my mother is so often infuriated with me, it’s Herbert Henry Arthur George. You have to really bellow that one.

Anyway, of THE DARK CRYSTAL VOLUME ONE, Tom far more relevantly wrote:

“Has it really been thirty years since this beautiful fantasy first came to the cinema? Brian Froud’s designs for this film gave the story a weight the technical skill of the Jim Henson Co. couldn’t carry alone. While in the film we see a dying world populated by mysterious characters, the world they inhabited was by far the most intriguing aspect the whole. Its ruined structures hinted at past prowess through the undergrowth, and a lot of thought went into what exactly they meant. The strange glyphs and diagrams carved into the buildings and stones weren’t just throwaway aesthetic garnish, but based upon an understanding of the astronomical knowledge of this fictional world’s tri-star system. Which if you remember from the film, orbited the planet Thra and “sung” to the Crystal deep in its bowels. This is symbolised by a series of concentric circles encasing an inverted triangle. From this emblem Henson & Co created not only a world, but a religion, a complex society. Then they destroyed it, leaving us with arcane hints in the fantastic dystopia of Thra.”

This is a trilogy.


Buy Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths vol 2 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Young Avengers #2 (£2-25, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie with Mike Norton, Matthew Wilson.

We don’t review second issues of series – certainly not superhero series – because why? Also it infuriates me that the airwaves are congested by amateur reviews of every single superhero issue every single week, thereby distracting potential readers from the real mainstream material which deserves their attention.

However, this was jaw-droppingly beautiful, from the dazzling cover (another stained-glass window of wonder, both breathing and breathless) to little ‘Kelvie details like the upwards flicks on the end of Wiccan’s floppy hair and his two-tone t-shirt. The single panel in which he takes hold of his boyfriend’s hand, three fingers between Teddy’s thumb and fore, was exquisitely delicate. Because, yes, he’s fucked up badly leaving his boyf in a world of trouble.

That’s not why we’re here, though. We’re here for two of the most ingenious pages, from conception to execution, to have graced a comic since CEREBUS. (It was a regular occurrence there: almost every issue brought with it yet another visual innovation.) For superhero readers, think John Byrne’s SHE-HULK. Gillen and McKelvie use small panels as a claustrophobic prison and the gutters as its escape route… including the edges of the paper! Even the climax to that sequence brought with it beauty.

Anyway, it’s time to return to Loki’s local, the diner he’s adopted as his home from home, as Hulking and Wiccan debate whether to accept the young trickster’s aid:

“Well, I’ll go and perform my personal favourite summoning ritual of all time.”

Loki leaves them to it, taking a seat at the bar.

“Bacon engulfed in a floury roll! With the ketchup condiment!”


Buy Young Avengers #2 and read the Page 45 review here

Buy Young Avengers #1 2nd print with Bryan Lee O’Malley cover here (no 1st prints left)

Justice League Of America #1 (£2-99, DC) by Geoff Johns & David Finch.

Ah, I see!

There is actually a creative reason behind this sister series and it makes perfect political sense.

In JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL 1 then JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL 2 it becomes increasingly clear that there is a lack of governmental trust in the self-proclaimed Justice League, orbiting Earth from on high. America now wants its own version whose prospective members Amanda Waller here selects much to the horror or Colonel Steve Trevor: they’re a bunch of criminals and psychotic aliens – not all of whom have the American flag in their heart. Trevor is adamant that he will have nothing to do with this ticking time-bomb. Nothing whatsoever! So he’ll be their field leader and mentor, then.

Finch is one of the finest superhero powerhorses out there – his Martian Manhunter is chilling – while Geoff John’s introduces the set-up and potential fireworks perfectly.

I note Amanda Waller has lost a lot of weight, though. Shame…


Buy Justice League Of America #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Guardians Of The Galaxy #0.1 (£2-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Steve McNiven.

“Stop. What happened, Peter?”
“He was picking on a girl. No one was helping.”
“Are you hurt?”
“Go wash up for dinner. Rain is coming.”

I’m afraid what’s coming is a great deal worse than rain.

Beautiful. This is a beautiful romance comic followed by a comic about being a single mum and a story of growing up without a Dad. And then it turns very, very dark indeed. The blossoming romance is perfectly portrayed in a series of tender, silent panels, and the separation after is all the more heart-rending for it. As to what follows… jeepers!

Surprised? So was I. I had no expectations of this at all. Which just goes to show that there is no such thing as a good character or a bad character: just good writers and artists.

As to the context, I will leave you to discover that for yourselves.


Buy Guardians Of The Galaxy #0.1 and read the Page 45 review here

New Avengers vol 5 h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis &  Mike Deodato, Michael Gaydos, Michael Avon Oeming, Carlos Pacheco, others.

Final Bendis NEW AVENGERS book.

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are leaving the Mansion. In ALIAS VOL 1 and ALIAS VOL 2 (quite the best Marvel Universe books of all time) they got together and made a romantic go of it. In PULSE, they had a baby. But by that point Luke was already a member of the New Avengers and during that time the couple and baby have come under attack relentlessly.

“Avengers should not have kids,” the Wasp once said. “Superheroes should not have kids. That should be the rule.”

Jessica has wanted out for ages, and Luke has finally agreed. The thing is, Luke now owns Avengers Mansion and leads the team so his best mate, the multi-millionaire Iron Fist, is a tad preoccupied. Here he is in the Mansion’s garden whose statues celebrating the team’s history have come under the same bombardment they all have recently. They’re a little the worse for wear. He’s meditating, in silence, with Doctor Strange, no longer Master Of The Mystic Arts.

“I can’t believe Cage is up and leaving.”
“Danny – “
“Can you…? I mean, we’re all here because of him. In a way.”
“Let’s – this is meditation time. Both of us need to focus.”
“I know, I know… Doctor, you’re right.”
“Just let it go. Clear your mind. We’re both men of spirit.”
“Should we disband? Should we even go on as a team? I mean, we’re all so busy and we’re all on other teams. Without Luke what kind of a team will this be?”
“No, I know. It’s just… In the old days we would have made this decision together.”
“You and I?”
“No. Me and Luke.”
“Well – “
“But – But things change! Right?”
“Life. All of a sudden everything is turned around and Luke is a father and a husband. And I’m just… I’m just… I’m exactly the same. (My costume’s better.)”
“Daniel, listen to me… You and Lucas will be friends for life.”
“No. I know. I know.”
“Change is inevitable.”
“I know.”
“We have to support our friends as they journey forth… And know that we will always cherish the moments we are lucky enough to have shared.”
“I think I’m going to buy myself a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4.”
“That is a great idea.”
“You want one?”

It’s pages like that which sets this second series of NEW AVENGERS way above its NEW-less sister title. It’s a far better dynamic full of irreverent characters and consequent mischief. The art has come predominantly from arch shadow-merchant Mike Deodato with a welcome one chapter here by ALIAS’ Michael Gaydos. Alas, this book also features a jarring chapter drawn by Michael Oeming whose POWERS with Bendis I adore. But it could hardly be less in tune with Deodato. Oh, wait, it could: there are the double-page spreads by blindingly cool but awfully inappropriate artists right at the battle-climax, and the tension evaporates just like that. Such self-indulgence – well, no doubt, to give these underexposed artists a little publicity, but at the expense of the book and its readers.

A self-sacrifice is about to come back to haunt our new Avengers and Doctor Strange in particular. Someone with the almost limitless ability to hop between bodies by possessing their souls instantaneously is out for revenge. One by one key members of Marvel’s occult are taken down one-by-one until there is a murder inside the mansion itself and all are implicated. In desperation the prime-time team of Avengers are also assembled – the real powerhouses like Thor, the Red Hulk and – oh dear. They have souls too, I’m afraid.

Will Luke and Jessica make it out with their baby alive, or did they linger just a little too long? Now is not the best time to look at that cover again.


Buy New Avengers vol 5 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Ultimate Comics Iron Man s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Nathan Edmonson & Matteo Buffagni…

When I finished this my first thought was, well that was a completely obvious ending which I saw coming about forty pages earlier and, in fact, certain events leading up to it actually mean the ending is total nonsense. After thinking about it for another ten seconds or so, that might not actually be the case. The ending being total nonsense, that is, but it’s still so, so obvious. It’s meant to be a total shocker, but meh.

Such a shame after the shining triumph that was ULTIMATE COMICS THOR and also the thought-provoking ULTIMATE COMICS CAPTAIN AMERICA. This is just insipid. It makes no use whatsoever of what differentiates Ultimate Shellhead from mainstream Shellhead, i.e. the even more outrageously louche Tony, complete with his intelligent tumour that has its own personality etc. etc. This could just be a very dull mainstream Iron Man adventure and, frankly, when Matt Fraction has been invincibly acing it for eons and now Kieron Gillen is now boldly going where no (Iron) man has been before (well not recently anyway), this is just dull.


Buy Ultimate Comics Iron Man s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Animal Man vol 4: Born To Be Wild (£14-99, Vertigo) by Peter Milligan, Tom Veitch & Chas Trogg, Steve Dillon, Mark Farmer…

“I’m Nowhere Man. Formerly known as the Molecularly Displaced Freak. Maybe we’ll come back to that later, like a floating dice.
“My mind is also a little displaced, which is why I use what I call my Burroughs technique. We’ll come back in green saliva to that one too…
“Hi, make yourself Venusian rubbed Moscow. Can I drink you in the Mayan temple?”

Strange. If you had asked me whether anyone else took over ANIMAL MAN after Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking run, I would have said no, it finished after his 26 issues. I did, after all, have it on standing order – at Page 45, I should add. And, given how much I had enjoyed Peter Milligan’s SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, also on Vertigo, and his other previous 2000AD stuff like BAD COMPANY, I would have thought I would have carried on getting the title when he took over rather than just cancelling it. It’s just that I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of this material. Sadly that’s probably just as well, and probably explains why it’s never been collected before, as I found it almost unreadable. I am almost tempted to go up into the loft and dig out the relevant COMIC LONG BOX (surely the most outrageous product linking ever?) to see if I did actually purchase any of these issues. If I have, I’ve blanked them from my mind completely.

I should pause there, mind you and add a very large caveat: it’s only the Milligan material that I just couldn’t get on with. The stuff written by Tom Veitch, who took over after only six issues from Milligan, is really rather good and far closer in tone to the Morrison ANIMAL MAN material, whereas Milligan seemed to have been attempting to go down a more SHADE, well even DOOM PATROL route, frankly. It’s too loosely, almost incoherently written, which is precisely what he was going for oddly enough as a huge impossible-to-miss neon sign-posted nod to William Burroughs’ cut-up technique, though it does tighten up considerably and become a touch more cogent in the final couple of his issues.

I get what he was trying to do, which was basically write something extremely experimental, I just didn’t enjoy it. The art is also… interesting… definitely putting me in mind of some of the very early issues of HELLBLAZER in terms of being very average quality indeed. Again the exception being on the Veitch-penned stuff, when Steve Dillon is on the pencils. A game of two halves. then, this particular volume.

Having just had a peek at Wikipedia, I see Veitch and Dillon did actually create 18 issues in total, followed by Jamie Delano writing 29 issues (I really do find it bizarre I never read this material at the time unless early senility is well and truly upon me) and then 10 more issues by Jerry Prosser before it was cancelled. Hmm, I guess DC may well be reprinting it all gradually and why not I suppose. Caveat emptor and all that.


Buy Animal Man vol 4: Born To Be Wild and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews already online if they’re new formats of previous books. Otherwise the most interesting will come under the microscope next week, while the rest will remain with their Diamond previews acting in lieu of reviews.
Crossed vol 5 s/c (£18-99, Avatar) by David Lapham, David Hine & Jacen Burrows, Georges Duarte

Unearthing Ltd Ed h/c (£49-99, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins

Unearthing s/c (£19-99, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins

Sleeper Omnibus h/c (£55-99, DC) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Muse h/c (£25-99, Humanoids) by Denis Pierre Filippi & Terry Dodson

Spider-Man: Dying Wish h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Humberto Ramos, various

Fanny & Romeo (£14-99, Conundrum Press) by Yves Pelletier & Pascal Girard

Joe The Barbarian s/c (£14-99, DC) by Grant Morrison & Sean Murphy

Marvel Zombies: Destroy s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Frank Marraffino & Mirco Pierfederici

The Shade softcover (£14-99, DC) by James Robinson & Cully Hamner, Tony Harris, Darwyn Cooke, Frazer Irving, Jill Thompson

Mice Templar vol 3: A Midwinter Night’s Dream s/c (£13-50, Image) by Bryan J.L. Glass & Michael Avon Oeming

All Star Western vol 2: Lords & Owls s/c (£12-99, DC) by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, various

Red Lanterns vol 2: Death Of The Red Lanterns s/c (£12-99, DC) by Peter Milligan & Miguel Sepulveda

Severed s/c (£10-99, Image) by Scott Snyder & Attila Futaki

Trigun Multiple Bullets (£10-50, Dark Horse) by Yasuhiro Nightow

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight s/c (£9-99, DC) by Brian Augustyn & Mike Mignola

Blood-C vol 1 (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Ranmaru Kotone

Pandora Hearts vol 14 (£8-99, Yen Press) by Jun Mochizuki

Moomin Builds A House (£7-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Tove Jansson

Moomin Falls In Love (£7-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Tove Jansson

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You (£9-99, Andrews McMeel) by The Oatmeal

Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates vol 3 s/c (UK Ed’n) (£12-99, Marvel) by Sam Humphries & Billy Tan, Luke Ross

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man vol 3 s/c (UK Ed’n) (£13-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez, Pepe Larraz

Ultimate Comics: X-Men vol 3 s/c (UK Ed’n) (£12-99, Marvel) by Carlo Barberi & Paco Medina

Tenjo Tenge 2-in-1 Edition vol 11 (£10-99, Viz) by Oh!Great

Black Butler vol 12 (£8-99, Yen) by Yana Toboso

Tegami Bachi – Letter Bee vol 12 (£6-99, Viz) by Hiroyuki Asada

Awkward Silence vol 3 (£9-99, SuBLime) by Hinako Takanaga

Skip Beat! Omnibus vols 10-12 (£9-99, Viz) by Yoshiki Nakamura

Psyren vol 9 (£6-99, Viz) by Toshiaki Iwashiro

Neon Genesis Evangelion Omnibus vols 4-6 (£12-99, Viz) by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Demon Love Spell vol 2 (£6-99, Viz) by Mayu Shinjo

Hayate Combat Butler vol 21 (£6-99, Viz) by Kenjiro Hata
New comic about hatred and the internet by Joe List. Brilliant!

Madness: ‘How Can I Tell You?’ live. The lyrics and delivery are wonderful: a love letter to your child. I cried?

And in a cracking convergence, check out this music video which comicbook creator Dan Berry popped together for Jim Guthrie. Jim Guthrie: The Rest Is Yet To Come by Dan Berry. Oh my God! Your soul will soar!

 – Stephen