If it were designed to suck out your soul then deposit it, quivering, down a bleak back-alley in slightly soiled bed linen to subsist on meths for the rest of your life, then I would consider it the most remarkable success.
Fuck it, I’m going home. In fact, I’m going to the dentist to have all my teeth pulled out as a palliative pick-me-up.
– Stephen on Gabba Gabba Hey: The Story Of The Ramones
TILL MONKEY TELLS ALL!
In which I give my first-ever 45-minute live interview – with Make It Then Tell Everybody – and grow increasingly “animated”. There are swears!
We Can Fix It s/c (£10-99, Top Shelf) by Jess Fink –
If you or I had a time machine we might go back and, say, kill Hitler. (Or perhaps prevent Diego Maradona from scoring a blatant handball in the ’86 World Cup.) However, if you or I were Jess Fink (CHESTER 5000 XYV) we would use said machine to go back, set ourselves up with hotties, engineer sexy situations and make out with our younger selves because Jess Fink is naughty! College, high school, the workplace – nowhere is safe from Finks finagling. But what starts as a gentle prod in the right direction soon becomes an exercise in micro-management.
After all, we all know better now than we did 10 years ago, or even five minutes ago right? Seems only sensible, then, that Jess should apply her worldly wisdom to help her former selves make better decisions. Don’t date that boy, he turns out to be an arse. Wear something nicer to that party, you’re gonna hook up. And no, that is not how you give a good blowjob! *Tut!* For some reason though, Jess’ former selves aren’t particularly grateful for her advice. Reactions range from “who the hell are you?! You’re scaring me” to “OMG butt the hell out of our/my/your life!” But the more she is rebuffed the more future/now Jess is determined to Make Things Better. And the more she tries, the more she fails. And the more she fails the more she is convinced that she has to go back further to fix the problem at its source. Which is probably birth because, let’s face it, that’s where all of our problems really began.
But of course there isn’t really a problem: there is just a young Jess going about her life, making the decisions and mistakes that will shape her, writing her own history and becoming her own person. Who cares if the fashion choices we made at 14 weren’t the best; if our hair was wince-worthy and our home-made comicbooks were just blatant rip-offs of our favourite artist of the day? Yes, perhaps that time moping in our room agonising over the fact no-one understood us might have been better spent, but so what? Dating people we shouldn’t, quitting jobs we should have stuck with, that ill-advised perm, are all part of what made us “Us”. And then there are the fun times, so often forgotten when we look back with a critical eye. Laughing until your sides hurt, that first kiss, that first love, even that first pay packet. All the things, good and bad, that brought us to this moment on this day as *exactly* the people we are now. Deep.
I think Fink has pulled off a really difficult thing here, making a book that is very funny and enjoyable but also personal and meaningful. There are chuckles and facepalms on every page but at the same time the observations come thick and fast and are revealing and brave. The story feels honest and self-effacing but never navel-gazey or maudlin. It’s a romp, in the best possible sense – no-holds-barred, silly, passionate, forgiving and smart. Fantastic!
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil h/c (£16-99, Jonathan Cape) by Stephen Collins.
Well indeed, we do love to compartmentalise – see Shaun Tan’s THE LOST THING. In fact, fans of Shaun Tan, please see and read Stephen Collins’ THE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL. It’s right up your suburb!
Such is the structure here – with its dialogue and sound effects integrated within the third-person narrative – that I have, however, missed out the nature of the naming:
“It’s a punishment from God.”
“It’s nature’s revenge.”
“It’s just pure EVIL.”
It’s just a little bit of history repeating itself.
Oh, the sheep mentality – those so easily lead to dread all and sundry! Stephen Collins has much to say about our reaction to the new or unknown, and those who would fan the flames of that fear. And he has slotted it all into this whopping piece of whimsy told in softest graphite on thick, cream paper about a man who’s been bald from birth save for a teeny-tiny hair under his nose which will neither grow nor be snipped away. It is a constant, and constants are very reassuring, aren’t they?
Dave lives Here. More precisely, Dave lives on a street on the outer edge of Here which is entirely surrounded by sea. On the outer edges of the sea lies There. No one wants to go There. No one wants to go to sea, and those few who do have not come back. It’s so unsettling that the houses which line the cliff tops are all for sale. None of them have windows on the sea-side: it’s best not to look. Instead they face inwards, looking on to the impeccably maintained, identical streets whose trees are conscientiously clipped into uniform shapes. It’s all very neat and all very tidy – just like its residents.
Dave is comforted by this so sits at his window, alone at night, sketching the suburb without scratching its surface while listening to The Bangles’ ‘Eternal Flame’ on repeat. It blots out the sound of the sea.
By day, Dave ventures into the city, right in the heart of Here and as far away from There as you can get, where he works as a data analyst. He’s not entirely sure where the data comes from or what it is for, but it’s there, every morning, in his ‘Inbox’, ready to be ordered into graphs and pie charts and flow charts and Venn Diagrams. Tidied away, it all makes sense if something without purpose could be said to make sense. Until, one day, it doesn’t, and this sudden, alarming eruption of chaos catalyses a psychosomatic eruption of its own – that of Dave’s beard!
It’s such a dreamy read whose gentle narrative drifts across the pages, in and out of the panels, never assuming or consuming much time, leaving the images to live and breath; leaving the reader time to chuckle at everyone’s absurdity and space to gawp at the sheer majesty of the biggest beard you will ever see in your life!
However will the government cope? Who will be conscripted to whip those whiskers into shape as they sprawl ever onwards, outwards and upwards? Whoever it is, there will be knock-on effects throughout the land and (although I won’t spoil the biggest surprises) I cannot resist The Here Mail headline after a squad of riot coppers kettling the beast fall prey to its fulsome fecundity:
“POLICE CAUGHT BY THE FUZZ”
Oh, The Here Mail: you will wince with recognition. Not least at its opinion column entitled…
“Why I’m So Angry About All Of This.”
The Terrible Tales Of The Teenytinysaurs! (£8-99, Walker Books) by Gary Northfield.
Exuberant, ebullient and stoopid to boot, this has stampeded to the top of my Babel of books to be recommended to all young and impressionable minds, for it is they who understand so keenly that dinosaur dung is the very height of sophisticated comedy. Especially when plopped on your head from a megasaur arse.*
Gary Northfield is the demented jester behind the PHOENIX COMIC’s Gary’s Garden as well as The Beano’s DEREK THE SHEEP. Truly does this man comprehend the subtle humour of dramatic irony, the Chaucerian slight-of-hand and refined Greek rhetoric. He just ignores them completely in favour of ridiculous buffoonery which is what the kids want!
So meet buck-toothed Reggie, the moron Pteradon who is as lovely as lovely can be; Natasha the smasher, a fearless Triceratops who will not be bossed by the boys; Stegosaur Ronnie, forever chasing dreams… and butterflies… and Natasha; delinquent Dave, the gang’s only member with thumbs (mentally non-opposable); and finally Thomas. Thomas is one of those herbivorous giants with long wriggly necks who we all know were blue, except that Thomas isn’t really that gigantic yet, unlike his big brother Colin who will get roped into all sorts of nonsense like snorting the prehistoric posse off to the moon (fruity, fizzy tastes like Haribo Tangfastics** – but you knew that already, right?).
Together they galumph about their prehistoric domain in increasingly far-fetched escapades, lolloping wildly like a bunch of loopy, slack-jawed Red Setters. The cartooning is exquisite. I live for the panels in which someone’s nose gets bitten and the character’s eyes pop out of their heads, for Gary is the absolute king of wide-eyed, off-the-scale shrieking/agony/outrage. Also, the colouring is delicious and when you get to the undersea episode you are truly in for a treat – and for a startling surprise.
In addition, one adventure turns into a diabolical board game while another gives you not one, two, but three opportunities to help our dino-delinquents rescue Natasha’s new necklace in double-page spreads reminiscent of Jamie Smart’s FIND CHAFFY or Thomas Flintham’s SUPER-FANTASTIC PUZZLES. Finally, ‘Journey to The Centre Of My Brother’ breaks off for a cross-section of Colin’s intestines which has been rigorously researched from the very latest palaeontology evidence, so that you know this is educationally sound.
Caveat: youngsters and adults alike, please refrain from shaking this book before reading. It’s so effervescent you may find yourself covered in dinosaur snot. There’s an awful lot of it inside, as our Cretaceous children will so stickily discover when they discover the true origin of the word “bogeyman”.
* Please apply ointment.
** Product placement! Send a big box to Page 45, 9 Market Street, Nottingham NG1 6HY. For the attention of Stephen, please, NOT Dominique. Leave an open packet of Tangfastics anywhere near Dominique and it’s like being visited by Doctor Who’s Nashta Verada. That woman is voracious.
Age Of Bronze vol 1: A Thousand Ships s/c new edition (£14-99, Image) by Eric Shanower.
“I saw a ship sailing far out on the water – too far to turn back. It caries a man – a boy, really – who burns with a flame that will consume all he touches. A woman rides with him. She is proud and beautiful… but where she treads, death follows.”
First of seven award-winning volumes interpreting the story of Troy most famously propagated by Greek poet Homer. They are bursting with passion, epic in scope and astonishingly rich in detail.
Visual detail comes in the form of beautifully delineated bodies clothed in meticulously researched period clothing and gently nuanced expressions, all of which I’d compare to P. Craig Russell (SANDMAN: DREAM HUNTERS, FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE etc.) as inked by Art Adams. i.e. Thin, crisp lines but with a far softer touch. There is, however, no clutter at all, the panels composed in a joyous variety of forms all of which are thoroughly accessible to newcomers. There is nothing too tricksy and, in spite of the scope, nothing extraneous nor laborious. It is what they call “a real-page turner”.
It opens in the pastoral calm of the verdant cow-grazing pastures not far from the city of Troy. There young Paris awakes from a dream, about which we will learn only later, to find messengers demanding the family’s highly prized bull for King Priam of Troy’s next Festival Games. Determined to be the one to sacrifice the bull to the gods, Paris persuades his father to take him to the Games but discovers, after victory in a race, that his real father is King Priam himself. Priam embraces his long-lost son and Paris’ new brothers, formally hostile during the competition, all rally round.
Alas, aging King Priam is still smarting from Herakles’ sacking of Troy when he was but a child. It was then that his older sister Hesione was taken and given to the King of Salamis. Now that Troy has been rebuilt, Priam sends envoys demanding her return and although Hesione claims to be perfectly happy where she is, Priam suspects against all evidence to the contrary that she may have said so under duress. His sons suggest war, but they are too young to know war’s terrible cost and wisely King Priam rebuffs them. But when Paris suggests a stealthy raid instead, Priam likes the idea and dispatches Paris along with Aeneas to call on King Menelaus of Sparta first, in order to gain his support and so test recent treaties.
And this is where. It goes horribly. Wrong.
Although brother Hektor attempts to impress upon the inexperienced Paris (but four months at court) the complexity of the current geographical and so commercial context of this already dodgy endeavour, Paris’ eyes already blaze with a much greater ambition than the task he’s been given. So it is that when Paris lands and spies King Menelaus’ wife Helen of Sparta, he determines to make her his Helen of Troy.
The seduction sequence is breath-taking. Told in retrospect, Shanower repeats a single panel of Menelaus’ warning “Do you know what he’s here for?” over and over again, even though, ironically, Menelaus hasn’t the first fucking clue.
Dramatic irony abounds throughout, even for a modern reader. For although today we may not take oracles or horoscopes seriously, we know well enough to trust their eventual unfolding in Greek literature. As to the ancient Greeks – both the cast and the story’s original readership – they believed fervently. They believed so fervently that Menelaus’ older brother Agamemnon, leading the multinational retaliation for Helen’s abduction, risks his army’s starvation in order to wait for Achilles to show his girl-disguised face because only with Achilles on board, it is foretold, will Troy be left burning in ruins. Shame no one listens to the women, then, (same as it ever was) in this case both Kassandra and Helenus. They’re pretty prescient and very, very specific.
As to the prophecies surrounding Achilles, they open up a whole new can of calamari…
Every library should have one. Or two. Or three. School libraries should be a little cautious when it comes to younger readers because this isn’t some simplistic white-wash and there are scenes both of a sexual nature and of child-birth.
It’s one of the very best treatments of Homer I’ve read (although please do see Gareth Hinds’ THE ODYSSEY – especially schools, you’re on safer ground there) and far more than a mere adaptation but an integration of so many different sources – often conflicting – as Shanower details in the extensive resources in the back. It is, in short, the version Shanower wants to tell, in considerable depth and with exceptionally keen judgement.
It’s also a lot more fun than my old classics lessons aged 12 when I was forced to translate and study the original. The original is fab, but translating passages aged 12 before reading them outloud in front of your class and a very ‘volatile’ headmaster was far from fun.
Still, I did learn the origin of words like “euphemism”.
Godzilla: Half Century War s/c (£14-99, IDW) by James Stokoe.
“I had arrogantly begun to think of Godzilla as an anomaly, a one-off. An animal of the Atomic Age too stubborn to die. Once the A.M.F. figured out how to deal with him, that would be it. We could all go home knowing that we had done some good.
“Then the others showed up and humbled the lot of us…”
Ah yes, the others…
Not since I glued together my very first Aurora model kit, at the tender age of eight, have I been so in love with Godzilla. And yes, I used every piece of glow-in-the-dark plastic they offered, including that magnificent, jagged spine.
Here too the crystalline spine glows, as does the billowing smoke on page after page thanks to some monumentally lambent colouring by, I infer, James Stokoe himself, assisted by Heather Breckel. So much attention has been paid to each cloudy puff’s highlights. From the very first page I can promise you carnage on a gargantuan scale – we’re talking Geoff Darrow on Frank Miller’s HARD BOILED – whenceforth it only multiplies.
Along with rookie soldier Ota Murakami, we first encounter Godzilla in 1954; in Japan, of course, where they first dropped the bomb. It’s pretty tough luck for the Japanese, having to reap what we sowed in the form of this rampaging mutation. The soldiers cannot contain the beast; they can only survive it thanks to some shit-hot tank driving. In the wake of such wreckage the Anti Megalosaurus Force is formed, Murakami being its key recruit. But it’s in Vietnam in 1967 that they realise Godzilla is far from alone and, worse still, its trajectory is far from random. After that it’s Africa, Bombay, then the whole bloody world as those ridiculous creatures swarm: Megalon, Rodan, Ebirrah, Hedorah, Mothra… Battra! As the stakes escalate, so do the A.M.F.’s counter-measures, but just when you think the odds can’t get any worse, the fight is joined by those from beyond and oh dear lord my eyes are on fire!
Inevitably there’s some manga in the mix this time out, and I love the puffing, sweaty faces. Most of all, however, I love the way the transport subtly reflects each era, especially in 1975 where the crack team’s more of a whack team, crashing about in a VW Campervan presumably pimped in Haight-Ashbury.
Blood Blokes #3 (£2-99, Great Beast) by Adam Cadwell.
What…? Oh come on, we’ve all been on more than one of those benders – particularly on New Year’s Eve. Vincent went out on the town but got bit by a bat and ended up on a slab. The good news is that lanky Mike and deadpan Doug then abducted him and brought him back to the semi which they share with Ariana. Which is where we came in and where we do go from here.
“Did you spike my drink, huh? Did you roofie me?”
“Um… you all have fangs.”
“So do you.”
How will our student react to being undead? In a Manchester suburb, and a city-centre pub with a nightly lock-in exclusively for vamps? There’s no going back to his old life now, with his flat, his Mum and Dad and ex-girlfriend Jane…
Oi, Vince! I said there’s no going back to your old life now! Oh, hell…
Clean, lush art which swings between Paul Grist and Jamie Hernandez in places, with crazy dancing, ripped jeans, Batman boxer shorts and comfy sweaters. For more, please see BLOOD BLOKES #1 and BLOOD BLOKES #2.
“Sorry about the mess. There’s only one wardrobe in the house and you’re sleeping in it.”
Flat sharing, eh?
Occupy Comics #1 (£2-75, Black Mask) by Various
Anthologies for a charitable cause are often hit-and-miss affairs in terms of the material you get and this one is no different. But really the point is the cause more than the comics so it’s probably best to take the rough with the smooth; if you are interested in the Occupy Movement or the general furore surrounding it then you will find some interesting little nuggets here.
In terms of the strips three really stood out for me. CITIZEN JOURNALIST by Ales Kot (WILD CHILDREN, CHANGE) Tyler Crook (BPRD) and Jeromy Cox (many superhero titles) is a snapshot of what it takes to get footage from a scene where the regular media have been “asked” by the police not to film. As you can imagine, what it takes is a mix of ingenuity and courage plus the ability to take a punch or two. Well put together with lovely art. CLEVER by Ben Templesmith is a two page spread explaining briefly how we are all being shafted, complete with zombie/skeletal men in suits. CHANNEL 1% by Matt Pizzolo and Ayhan Hayrula gives a succinct overview of how the events leading up to and including the Occupy movement have been spun.
You also get a bunch of other stuff including a chunk of prose by Alan Moore [the cartoon’s pedigree as a fiercely iconoclastic medium (Gillray) and comics’ too (Hogarth)] and an illustration by Molly Crabapple whose arrest at the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protest is well worth an internet search. Interesting stuff.
Gabba Gabba Hey: The Story Of The Ramones (£14-99, Omnibus Press) by Jim McCarthy & Brian Williamson.
There’s either a comma or a hyphen missing after “bullshit”, I can’t quite decide, but I echo the sentiments wholeheartedly. Comics should be an entertainment, not an endurance test and – in the spirit of full disclosure – I should probably confess that this was such an irritating, infuriating chore that I gave up quite quickly in.
Thankfully not before relishing the introduction by Everett True, stellar music critic from my misspent yoof, whose eloquent recollection and evocation of the band, its individual “brothers” and natural habitat, sent me crashing back in time to Rock City. And let me tell you, resurrecting memories of Rock City from my booze-addled brain is no mean feat. To his eternal credit, Everett makes no mention of the graphic novel whatsoever, but instead enthuses about the band’s cartoon aspects and it all makes perfect sense. It makes so much sense that I would have relished seeing a Ramones biography drawn by either Marc Ellerby (creator of ELLERBISMS and, of course, that issue of CBGB written by Kieron Gillen) or Adam Cadwell of BLOOD BLOKES.
Just not this one. I wouldn’t wish this script on either of those guys.
Unlike CBGB, it has no narrative hook whatsoever. Instead it launches straight in to the most godawful, clunky exposition as Phil Spector introduces himself to the Ramones halfway through their recording process, yonks after they’ve actually met.
“Y’know, I worked with everyone, the biggest of all time! The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison and my own great stuff with Ike and Tina Turner. You name ‘em, I recorded ‘em!! I changed the face of rock’n’roll forever. You get me!? I make it happen! I hope you got all that…”
Yes, Jim, the readers got all that.
“Everyone recorded here, but I invented the fucking Wall of Sound. Brian Wilson might think he’s a fucking genius, but I, Phil Spector…”
Who are you again…?
“… I, Phil Spector…”
Ah, that’s what I thought.
“… I, Phil Spector, am the all-time numero uno!”
Seriously, who on earth introduces themselves to anyone they’ve been talking to for over an hour, let alone a day, a week, a month or a year? Picture the Page 45 shop floor, where Jonathan and Dominique have been waiting patiently for me to turn up on time for once and I stumble in, three hours late with mismatching shoes, and pronounce….
“Y’know, I created Page 45 with Mark Simpson. I, Stephen L. Holland! Everyone has signed here!! You name ‘em, they’ve signed! Eddie Campbell, Roberta Gregory, Neil Gaiman, Posy Simmonds, Terry Moore, Bryan Talbot, Peter Bagge, Hope Larson, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Sean Phillips, Duncan Fegredo, Marc Laming, David Hine, Nabiel Kanan, Jeremy Dennis, Donna Barr, Paul Gravett, Paul Grist, Anders Nilsen, Jeffrey Brown, Ed Ilya, Dave Sim, Los Bros Sleaze Castle, that chap called Gerhard, that bloke called Millidge, that girl called –“
“I know!” bellows Dominique, braining me with a LOST GIRLS hardcover. “I organised most of those bloody events!”
Now let me tell you about the art: it is far from cartoon. It is the exact antithesis of the band’s infectious, geniusly-done dumb. It is instead the most morose, photo-realistic, post-apocalyptic, joyless photo-collage of backgrounds mis-married to the portraits (although those are immaculately recognisable) that you can possibly imagine. If it were designed to suck out your soul then deposit it, quivering, down a bleak back-alley in slightly soiled bed linen to subsist on meths for the rest of your life, then I would consider it the most remarkable success.
I’ll take a punt and suggest that this wasn’t the object of the exercise.
Anyway, fuck it, I’m going home. In fact, I’m going to the dentist to have all my teeth pulled out as a palliative pick-me-up.
Since I haven’t even done this graphic novel the common courtesy of finishing it, I leave you with this, from the publisher’s hype-monkey:
“The Ramones were the archetypal American punk band and this is their story, from their beginnings in Queens in 1974, through the burgeoning punk scene at CBGB’s, the excitement of their first album, their brush with the unhinged genius of Phil Spector and the endless touring that saw them perform 2,263 concerts over a 22 year period. Set against a backdrop of New York facing bankruptcy and terrorised by Son of Sam, The Ramones tale takes in endless inter-band fighting and finally the tragic deaths of three of the founding members: Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee.”
There is nothing punk rock about this whatsofuckingever.
Dragon Resurrection s/c (£13-50, Dark Horse) by Mark Byers & Erfan Fajar.
Instead it’s a woefully stodgy mess of all-too coincidental contrivances in which a father of two determined to find palaeontological evidence of dragons co-existing with men (as opposed to dinosaurs who lived long before) finally hits paydirt and unearths – or at least threatens to defrost – one of two such long-lost legends. A terrorist, working in cahoots with both the US military and some eastern Cabal, blows it to kingdom come but not before the scientist’s daughter Jesse has taken a DNA sample which she sends to her crippled brother Jack.
Her brother, you see, is a genetic scientist desperately working on a hybrid-related cure for his paraplegia following his sister showing off during a backstreet kung-fu altercation with some drug-runners. One of which turns out to be the leader of this rising Cabal. Errrr… Remarkable!
But the dragon DNA won’t work for him, only for his sister who injects it after her brother is abducted by the — shoot me NOW!
The art is so lacklustre it manages to obfuscate a sudden and potentially dramatic space-ship lift-off, its sequential art so staccato you can only conclude that both the writer and artist had hiccups.
Furthermore, the script is so ridiculous that a permanent carbon nanotube linking Earth to its space-station destination is supposedly left undiscovered by any and all nations with satellite radar, plus Jack manages to sneak out and then in again from/to a heavily guarded, alarm-ridden, instant-reaction, technologically impervious research centre whilst trundling along at 0.2mph in the spine-supporting equivalent of a goddam fucking wheelchair.
This doesn’t just insult your intelligence, it shouts “Yo Mama!” jokes at you on every single page.
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.
Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf h/c (£9-99, Walker Books) by David Almond & Dave McKean
Tales Of The Buddha Before He Was Enlightened s/c (£10-99, Renegade Arts Entertainment) by Alan Grant & Jon Haward
Age Of Bronze vol 3 s/c (£13-50, Image) by Eric Shanower
Clone vol 1 s/c (£9-99, Image) by David Schulner & Juan Jose Ryp, Felix Serrano
Lucifer vol 1 new edition (£22-50, DC) by Mike Carey & Scott Hampton
Uncanny X-Men vol 4 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Various
All New X-Men vol 2: Here To Stay h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez, Stuart Immonen
Superior Spider-Man vol 1: My Own Worst Enemy s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Ryan Stegman, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Ryan Stegman
Thor God Of Thunder vol 1: God Butcher h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Esad Ribic
Deadpool vol 1: Dead Presidents s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn & Tony Moore, Geof Darrow
Ultimate X-Men vol 1 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Brian Wood, Nathan Edmondson & Paco Medina, Dave Johnson
Punisher: Enter War Zone s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Greg Rucka & Marco Checchetto, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Marco Checchetto
Uncanny Avengers vol 1: Red Shadow s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Rick Remender & John Cassaday, Oliver Coipel
Indestructible Hulk vol 1: Agent Of SHIELD vol 1 s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Mark Waid & Leinil Francis Yu
Mere s/c (£14-99, Picturebox) by C.F.
Limit vol 5 (£8-50, Random House) by Keiko Suenobu
Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus vol 1 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima
Durarara!! Saika vol 2 (£8-99, Hachette Book Group Usa) by Narita Ryohgo & Satorigi Akiyo
Soul Eater vol 14 (£8-99, Hachette Book Group Usa) by Atsushi Ohkubo
Star Trek: Countdown s/c (US Edition) (£13-50, IDW) by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman & Mike Johnson, Tim Jones
Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness s/c (UK Edition) (£9-99, Titan) by Roberto Orci & David Messina
ITEM! TAMARA DREWE’s Posy Simmonds takes Guardian readers through her sketchbook – some fascinating insights into her cultural sources and creative decisions.
ITEM! Dylan Horrocks has reformatted SAM ZABEL AND THE MAGIC PEN in colour. Free comic – yay!
ITEM! Just in: “This year the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest literary festival of its kind in the world, is doing things a little differently. A brand new strand of events will focus exclusively on comics and graphic novels. Over forty events (talks, discussions, exhibitions, workshops and even a mini comic fair) featuring near a hundred creators and industry legends make up the fantastic programme.”
Everything launches on June 20th, at which point everything of explodes except, I am hoping, my cat. Watch this space for blogs dedicated to the comics side of things, and follow them specifically at @StrippedFest.
ITEM! Four-panel comic. This is me at Page 45 on a daily basis. It’s a constant source of surprise: one lost soul swimming in a fish bowl by Joe Sayers.
ITEM! TILL MONKEY TELLS ALL SHOCK!
In which I give my first-ever 45-minute live interview – with Make It Then Tell Everybody – and grow increasingly “animated”. There are swears! Listen to HEY YOU!’s Dan Berry pressing all my buttons mere moments in. He knows precisely what he is doing!
– Stephen El Holland