Reviews May 2013 week four

I remember picking up a cue, quite determined that it must finally be my turn, failing completely in my three or four attempts to make contact with even the white ball, before realising I had in fact intruded on someone else’s game on an adjoining table.

 - Jonathan on Ferals. (Classy guy, our Jonathan)

Please see way down below, as always, for an even bigger explosion of news than usual!

Marble Season h/c (£16-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Gilbert Hernandez.

“This is the greatest discovery of my life!”

There! Over again in this truly great graphic novel Gilbert Hernandez nails the experience of childhood – its actuality and expression – but he does it best there.

We have no sense of perspective when young, nor should we – how could we?

Instead there are the immediately uttered explosions of over-excited ebullience and awe-struck wonder when lucky; the silent, destitute chasms of confusion or desolation when disillusionment comes knocking on our door. When we are disappointed by others, or disappointed in ourselves.

Here, for example, our Huey has expanded his own comic collection after relatively new friend Chauncy invites him over to play. Chauncy has quite the stash, and when he pops out for five seconds Huey can’t help himself from helping himself, slipping an issue under his t-shirt before stealing it home, flushed with fear lest he get caught. He doesn’t, but he’s startled to find Chauncy standing in the street and staring into space the next morning.

“Chauncy!”
“You could see a rainbow earlier this morning.”
“Oh, uh… I was inside all this morning.”
“You can keep that comic book you borrowed.”
“W – wha…? I mean…”

He didn’t borrow it, of course, but I don’t think the ethereal Chauncy even suspects the foul play involved: it is his instinct not to imagine the worst, but to assume automatically the best in everyone around him. Huey is shamed by Chauncy’s good will and sets about rescuing the situation, but events back home have since moved on and so, I’m afraid, has the comic.

I don’t know how popular a pronouncement this will be – given Gilbert Hernandez’s enormous body of work, so complex, accomplished and critically acclaimed (oh, see the entire LOVE AND ROCKETS canon) – but this for me is his finest work to date, although last month’s JULIO’S DAY was pretty darn special too. It is certainly the best evocation of childhood in comics bar none, so many of its truths, we are told, garnered from his own early experiences.

I don’t mean that it is bleached into the lowest common denominators we can all immediately recognise in our own lives (although yes, I remember bubblegum cards and I remember hesitantly learning to jimmy a few freebies from their packs’ free-standing receptacles without the legitimate exchange of coins – sorree!), for this is full of surprises. It will teach you about your own experiences and maybe exhume a few memories long since buried and misunderstood until now.

Huey is the middle of three brothers. Chavo is too young to even speak, but Huey loves him dearly, constantly interacting with Chavo as if he understood Huey’s every wild imagining. And Huey has quite the imagination, acting out stories he makes up as he goes along, either alone in the street with his GI Joe action figure or with friends he’s corralled to perform a Captain America Vs The Red Skull play or similar scenarios of extemporised adventure. When they threaten to disband through boredom or disbelief, it is Huey’s older brother Junior who keeps them on board.

Indeed, throughout, Junior is Huey’s guardian angel. There’s a refreshing and heart-warming lack of competitiveness in that family and it is, all of it, firmly seen from the children’s perspective. Just like the Tom & Jerry cartoons where humans are heard but not seen, Huey’s mother appears not once in person, only through second-hand pronouncements.

“Hey, Mom said that she doesn’t want you to have a play in our backyard, Huey. Everybody has to go home.”

There is some exquisite cartooning going on here. There’s the opening scene in which Huey saunters down his safe street alone, dwarfed by the not-too-wide world around him, absorbed in his the contents of his new comic. When Junior casually questions the appropriateness of a prop in Huey’s play, Huey shoots back a wide-eyed, open-mouthed expression so genuinely aghast at his brother’s rare lapse in the cardinal rule of play that it’s actually very moving:

“PRETEND!”

It’s the ultimate answer and a moment reprised, one page on, after they’ve transformed together a plain public Frisbee into Captain America’s shield with a lick of paint and some wire… then Huey slips the shield over his forearm. In that shining moment, costume or no costume, mask or no mask, Huey is Captain America.

The power of pretend!

The relationships between the various young neighbours are endearingly complex. There are the bullies, as you’d expect, and those slightly older who see themselves therefore as infinitely wiser, but also moments of honour and generosity, far from rare. And this is what I mean by complex:

Huey is the local marbles expert: he expects to win. So when Patty asks to play, he agrees and instructs her “Don’t fudge!” But Patty’s a very quick learner and wins.

“I won’t take your marbles. Let’s keep playing.”
“Naw, you won.”
“Can’t we keep on playing?”
“No, I’m going inside and watch Superman.”
“My favourite show is Bozo The Clown.”
“Bozo? Jimmy Olsen is funnier than Bozo! Superman is boss and Bozo’s for dumb little kids, Patty!”

The expression on Huey’s face there is like a venomous toad. He has turned in a split second on the quite innocent Patty who so evidently ‘likes’ Huey, lashing out in a deliberate attempt to devastate her with a killing verbal blow. But when older, baseball-bat wielding tomboy Lana backs Patty up by declaring Bozo new and Superman mere “old reruns”, Patty instead sticks up for the visibly stricken Huey with an emphatic “Mind your own business!”

It’s sweet, and the scene plays itself out until Lana’s alone in the alley.

“Children!”

Several are the transformations which will occur over the course of the next new months, some more subtle than others. Huey, for example, grows from shorts into long trousers. There’s a brief burst of disruption as two delinquents move in, provoking fights and threatening to lead some astray. Although, again, it’s far from the black and white this is printed on: energy is an attractive attribute in childhood. There’s Elvin the footballer (or will he be chef?) whose body language gives much away; and club-leader Dave who, his brother implies, shouldn’t be playing with children. There are also the crises of confidence, and my hastily scribbled notes make much of even more recognition boxes I ticked: comics without covers (none of the comics in my Gran’s hairdresser’s had covers) and the kid whom none of us really knew declaring the public path by his house completely off-limits.

Truth be told, either this or JULIO’S DAY would make prime Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month material. They are both flawless graphic novels and although Los Bros Hernandez are already famed within my generation of right-minded comicbook lovers, they’re not attracting the level of attention they deserve in newcomers. Plus this is an original graphic novel: none of it appeared in LOVE AND ROCKETS.

So at the time of typing it is May 22nd 2013, with just over a week before we declare our hand, and I have yet to consult Jonathan or Dominique so we shall see. I’d buy it now and be done with it. Oh wait, I already have.

SLH

Buy Marble Season h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Authority vol 1 h/c (£22-50, DC) by Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch.

“We are The Authority. Behave.”

THE AUTHORITY was one of the first superhero series I ever endorsed, back in 1999. It hit the tarmac running and punched you in the socio-political face.

With its clipped, military precision, it reset the standard once monopolised by WATCHMEN. It consciously or subconsciously inspired Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s four ULTIMATES books, and I’m here to tell you that it withstands the test of time. If you want testosterone, it will give you testosterone, but with a great deal more cranial activity to boot.

Guess who’s got the most of both? Jenny Sparks, pragmatic blonde Brit and the sharpest female lead in superhero comics. Naturally she doesn’t wear spandex, she wears an exquisitely tailored, loose cotton suit over a Union Jack t-shirt, but she has more attitude than her entire team together, even if she doesn’t once throw a physical punch.

That job goes to Jack Hawksmoor, at one with Earth’s cities, and boyfriends Apollo and The Midnighter who – contrary to the despicable gay cliché – are neither maladjusted nor lightweights. Neither in the closet nor in your face, no one gives a shit, thank fuck. “Get a room, you two,” is about as much signposting as you’re going to get under Ellis. Apollo smiles with a boyish optimism and he shines as bright as the sun. The Midnighter does not:

“I’ve already planned this fight in my head, a million times, from each and every angle. You think your Kaizen Gamorra’s pretty damn good, I know. But my talents were built in by Henry Bendix, the biggest bastard on Earth, and trained by five years living rough and fighting on the streets of America.
“I won this fight before you even turned up.”

So where does the cranial come in? For a start, from The Carrier. Fifty miles long and thirty-five miles high, powered by a caged baby universe, it tacks into The Bleed between alternate universes, “sailing the outer oceans of ideaspace during the spawning season, keeping pace with a school of Obsession Fish”.

Also the new recruits: The Engineer and the Doctor. I can’t tell you how they solve problems, it’ll spoil all the surprises, but the Doctor’s final solution for an alternate-Earth Italy was … imaginative.

Also it’s the quiet moments, most harmoniously explored in the third chapter of this complete Ellis and Hitch run, as when Angie The Engineer marvels at being in outer space with her view of the moon and laments man’s all too-brief encounter with our lunar sister or relishes her view of The Bleed.

All of which – the quiet wonder and sheer, visceral thrill of seeing spinal chords ripped from their fleshy housing – would be far less effective and affecting were it not for Bryan Hitch, the neo-classical artist behind ULTIMATES and the rejuvenated, resigned Doctor Who TV series some seven years ago. Damn, that man can do scale!

Pity his poor final-inks artist Paul Neary each and every time Bryan Hitch sent him a city-scape or double-page spread of The Carrier so vast and detailed that any normal human being would have simply cried then gone back to bed. There is another double-page spread of a sadistic shoal of cloned, superhuman, black-clothed assassins speeding towards you out of a point of perspective which will fry your fevered brain. All lit, I might add, to sunrise perfection by colour artist, Laura DePuy. There’s also plenty in the backgrounds to amuse if you look closely enough: the multiple pizza-deliveries discarded in Angie’s New York flat or the pantheon of prior shamen who called themselves The Doctor.

So. Under Jenny Sparks, The Authority intend to make the world a better place, whether you like it or not. They will not tolerate an extra-terrestrial invasion, a despotic Eastern assault or a trans-dimensional incursion by a Sliding Albion hell-bent on turning the entire planet into one giant rape-camp.

“Bad things happened when I run teams. And bad things happen when I don’t run teams. This is a hellish gamble for me, Apollo.
“But there had to be someone left to save the world.
“And someone left to change it.”

Jenny Sparks stopped aging at twenty but has protected this planet for nearly one hundred years, for she is the spirit of the 20th Century.

It is now 1999. I repeat, it is now 1999.

“Game on.”

SLH

Buy The Authority vol 1 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Scott Pilgrim vol 3 h/c Colour Edition (£18-99, Oni Press) by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Includes… colour. Look, the title says so!

“It’s really for the best that he didn’t get a drink…”
“Oh, does he get up to go pee halfway through the movie?”
“Halfway? Try six times.”
“THAT’S A RECORD, NOT AN AVERAGE!”

Also extra for this edition: 50 pages that weren’t in the softcover including the Kim Pine story originally published in COMICS FESTIVAL 2007 which fills in a minor plot gap between vols 3 and 4. Also, also: advertisements; an unused, double-page cover concept; hilarious character map; lots and lots and lots of annotated character sketches; three excised story pages never seen before… but, best of all, the 17-page Free Comicbook Day story from 2006 in which Wallace secures free tickets to a gay cowboy film for himself, Ramona and Scott, and Scott totally fails to select a soft drink in time.

Then Scott’s attacked by eight identical, sixteen-year-old ninja girls (“I don’t like hitting them! They’re… soft.”) while Wallace and Ramona ignore his squeals in favour of this telling exchange:

“If one of your seven evil ex-boyfriends a ninja?”
“One or more of my exes might be a ninja, yeah…”

They probably don’t make that film. 45 minutes later:

“Oh dude, this one has +4 to speed! Ha ha ha ha sweet!”
“I hate you so much, Scott Pilgrim. I hate him so much, Ramona.”
“I know you do, sweetie. Scott, why do you ruin everything? Did you really need eight completely different drinks?”
“Yes, and they all have to have complimentary* power-ups! And not be grape. And I can’t go over my daily limit on anything, that’s bad for you. I also like to try and match the colours while I’m at it. You can call me obsessive-compulsive if you want, but I just think it’s better, you know? It’s also good if they all go in alphabetical order, and there can’t be any repeats. And blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!”

*NB: Scott can’t spell.

Cue customary overview!

Scott is a clot. He really is. He’s a total dumpling, and in terms of a Chinese take-away, dim doesn’t even begin to sum the lad up.

He is kinda cute, though, and as the series kicks off Scott is living with gay housemate Wallace for whom sly, dry mockery is a default setting. They’re so poor they even share the same bed. But Scott sleeps soundly until this girl called Ramona comes skating through his dreams – she’s a delivery girl and as you well know the quickest way from A to B is to skate through someone else’s dreams, right? Then Scott meets Ramona in his waking life, falls head over heals in whatever the hell that thing is (he may figure it out eventually) but is casually informed that if he wants her as a girlfriend he’ll have to defeat her seven evil exes in combat!

Truly a unique series with a heart of gold, and a wit and a Nintendo logic all of its own. There is not a single comic reader who could fail to fall in love with Scott, Wallace, Ramona or Bryan himself. O’Malley isn’t even close to running out of innovative ideas: his visual gags keep tumbling onto the page, and so convinced are we that this book is for everyone that if you try the first SCOTT PILGRIM black and white softcover at least and aren’t immediately hooked, we’ll give you your money back and even pay return postage.

You will, on the other hand, have totally failed to earn The Power Of Love, so no power-up of a flaming sword for you!

SLH

Buy Scott Pilgrim vol 3 h/c Colour Edition and read the Page 45 review here

Ferals vol 1 s/c (£14-99, Avatar) by David Lapham & Gabriel Andrade…

“Yours are the striped ones, Dale. You may want to move your bottle so you can see them.”
“Theresh no state of drunk inna entire world that’d make me lose to you, Ralph.”

I had an odd flashback reading that sequence, to the last time I drank tequila, which was New Year’s Eve 2001. After consuming about two bottles, err… mostly to myself, whilst we were preparing to go out to The Elbow Room pool bar in Leeds city centre for the night… quite literally the only thing I can clearly subsequently recall about the whole evening is a brief attempt to play pool. I remember picking up a cue, quite determined that it must finally be my turn, failing completely in my three or four attempts to make contact with even the white ball, before realising I had in fact intruded on someone else’s game on an adjoining table. I didn’t actually remember that either for a few weeks…

What actually happened was we were sat in my friend’s lounge, when I remarked when were we actually going to go out? It was then not-so-gently broken to me by my chortling chums it was 4am, that we had already been out, and indeed seen the New Year in a manner best described as roaringly Krakenous. It was at that point I realised there are in fact states of drunk not conducive to being victorious at pool, or indeed preventing brain damage. Aside from an ill-advised reprise with multiple flaming zambucca expressoes on my stag do (for which my stomach has never quite forgiven me), I have subsequently managed to avoid spirits ever since…

Still, Dale’s world is about to turn as shitty as I felt on New Year’s Day 2002. Already reeling from the loss of his best friend to what appeared to be some extreme animal attack, though Dale has suspicions that some sort of foul play might be involved, he’s about to lose his fuck buddy – his best friend’s ex-wife (classy guy, our Dale) – and also the blonde slapper he’s about to pick up post-pool game and shag in the toilets (very classy guy, our Dale) to the very same fate that evening. And then get the blame for it and have to go on the run from the cops and FBI. Oh dear. Plus, were that not bad enough, it appears he might also have picked up a rather extreme STD, of the lycanthropic variety, for his troubles.

So, some trepidation on reading this, penned as it is by David Lapham, but rest assured for those who are relatively faint of heart, it’s just extreme, relentless, gore-filled horror in the vein of CALIGULA, whilst not descending to the tasteless (personal opinion) depths of CROSSED VOLUME 2 and CROSSED VOLUME 3. I can certainly see this appealing to those who are enjoying most of the more horrific end of Avatar’s output. It’s certainly not going to redefine the genre, but it’s well written enough and also competently illustrated, in what seems to almost becoming an Avatar house (of) horror style by Gabriel Andrade.

JR

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

Crossed: Wish You Were Here vol 2 s/c (£14-99, Avatar Press Inc) by Simon Spurrier & Fernando Melek, Jacen Burrows…

“Sudden and vivid epiphany.
“I am living a horror film and I’m the swarmy one. Aren’t I? I’m the post-modern self-referencing c*** in the group, the one who irritates everyone, the not-a-joker, the tosspot, the loser with a crush on the heroine but no hope.
“He dies, diary. That guy. He always dies first or second. Third, maximum.
“I am an away-team extra in a red fucking shirt, and when I awake from this awful awful dream I will travel to America and take an enormoshit on William Shatner’s face.
“Believe I may be going mad. Something needs to change.”

Ha ha. I do love the character of frustrating writer Shaky. He’s such a two-faced weasely back-stabbing bastard. And yet, and yet, he’s showing all the characteristics needed to survive in the world of the Crossed. Look out for number one and screw everybody else…

After manipulating events in CROSSED: WISH YOU WERE HERE VOL 1 to get himself onto the supplies run to the mainland, he’s up to his usual tricks, putting his unwilling band of comrades / cannon fodder into the firing line to save his own neck, wherever and whenever possible. Along the way we will get the rest of his pre-island life back story, as dictated to his confessional diary, involving the gamekeeper and the nun (which will prove very significant in future issues, trust me). And we also encounter some new characters who Shaky is putting through his very own private reality show to decide which two get to come back to the (comparative) safety of their windswept isle. They’re a ragtag bunch, but they do of course include at least one genuine headcase. As I suspected, I’m now enjoying this even more than the original series, due to its ongoing nature.

JR

Buy Crossed: Wish You Were Here vol 2 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Metabarons Ultimate Collected Edition (£45-00, Humanoids Inc) by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Juan Gimenez >

Gorgeous hardcover repacking the otherwise flimsy softcover component parts that just lolled around on your shelves like flaccid fish caught in a far from jovial net. Or something. I hand you over instead to Professor David Hart, ex of Oxford with a BA Hons in English Literature, and 1st, as it happens:

Castration, mutilation, military prosthetics, whore-priestesses, vast space battles and barely suppressed Oedipal relationships: it’s fair to say that the defining motif for THE METABARONS is ‘excess’. Starting with former pirate Othon Von Salza, THE METABARONS tells the story of a line of technologically supercharged and murderous fucks with relationship problems, each page super-pumped full of more ideas than most comics use in a year, the hysteria dial well and truly turned up to eleven.

Any attempt to summarize the plot is going to make it sound bonkers; which it is, but that’s not the point. While the future medieval setting is as familiar as the space opera genre, what sets this apart is that the opera is very much of the Wagnerian variety. The sets, the gestures, the plots, the characters, all strain their sinews towards the epic. This is opera where the high notes shatter glass and where the fat lady is a psychic ninja cyborg who turns out to be a reincarnation of your mum.

Giminez’ painted art, meanwhile, is a superb match for Jodorowsky’s grandiose vision, grounding even the most outré of events in a human reality. He combines draughtsmanship with a dynamic sense of scale and storytelling, able to move in a flicker from Olympian-scale space battles to the smirk on a father’s face as he pulps his son’s feet in a macabre initiation ceremony.  Ignore the two robots who narrate the book and whose sub-C3P0 witterings litter the text (“What happens next! Do tell before I burst another diode!” Blah and, indeed, blegh). Instead sit back and watch the speed and variety of invention, as bigger and bigger ideas flash across the stage. This first volume ends with Othon and his freshly mutilated son setting off for a new land; it’s worth noting that it’s after this that things start to get really weird…

DH

Buy Metabarons Ultimate Collected Edition and read the Page 45 review here

Indestructible Hulk vol 1: Agent Of Shield h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Mark Waid & Leinil Francis Yu.

“Good morning, doctors. A pleasure. I am Dr. Bruce Banner, 21-time Nobel Prize loser. And your task is to help me break that streak. I’m sure you have questions?”

KINGDOM COME by Mark Waid and Alex Ross was stunning. It’s one of those OMG moments which you never saw coming but which will last blasted into your superhero psyche forever. Mark Waid is an ever-reliable veteran of superhero comics who can carry the corporate torch without sweat but who, like Busiek on ASTRO CITY, really comes into his own when the books are creator-owned. We’re talking IRREDEEMABLE. Go look at the latter: I compared the two.

Yet this is by far the most unexpectedly intelligent that the HULK has been since Peter David twenty years ago and – I’ll wager – is destined to surpass even that. Waid has thought outside the box. Or rather, the man has gone rummaging in the sandbox of past history and potential and found much that has been left to go mouldy there.

Don’t get me wrong: with Leinil Yu of SUPERIOR, SUPERCROOKS and ULTIMATE WOLVERINE VERSUS HULK fame, you are in for some wide-angled carnage on a teeth-grittingly, visceral level that will make your eyes pop out at the sheer weight of the collateral damage doled out here.

But listen, Bruce Banner is a phenomenally intelligent scientist, yet all the plaudits have gone to Reed Richards, Tony Stark and even Hank ‘Smack-My-Bitch-Up’ ‘Who-Even-Am-I-Today?’ Pym.

“Meanwhile, I – I who, forgive me, have just as much to contribute – will be lucky if my tombstone doesn’t simply say, “Hulk Smash!””

Ever since his first catastrophic self-sacrifice transmuting him into the uncontrollable, cyclonic force of nature that is the easily antagonised Hulk, Bruce Banner has been hounded so incessantly that he has only had time to react to each and every onslaught. The perpetual victim, he has never been afforded the opportunity to take stock. Even during brief respites he has his own system perpetually pumping against him as a ticking time bomb which could go off during even the most minor, mundane malfeasance. Like a bump in the queue for spaghetti.

So it is today that Maria Hill, head of SHIELD and on covert surveillance in a common-or-garden diner for another mission she should be attending to more rigorously, is obsessively on the man’s case yet again and against all professional advice.

“It’s not as if he’s going to find us,” she texts.
“Hi,” he says, sitting down.

Well that had me won. But there’s more, far more, for Bruce has a plan both pragmatic and proactive.

“First, resolved: being the Hulk is a chronic condition, like diabetes or cancer or M.S. The secret to living with it isn’t obsessing over a cure. It’s in managing what exists. Being vigilant. Like, say, making contact lenses that monitor my vital warning statistics as an early warning system.
“Second: use Banner Time more productively. Invent things. Fix things. Improve things. The Hulk has caused immeasurable damage and heartache over the years. It’s past time that I started balancing the scales by doing as much good as possible.”

He presents Maria Hill with a single canister.

“This? This is a purification unit that, if put into mass production, can eliminate all waterborne disease in the next five years, saving millions of lives.”
“That’s… Wow. Do you have a name for it?”
“Yes. Tuesday.”

SLH

Buy Indestructible Hulk vol 1: Agent Of Shield 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.

 
Blood Blokes #3 (£2-99, Great Beast) by Adam Cadwell

Naming Monsters (£12-99, Myriad) by Hannah Eaton

Gabba Gabba Hey: The Story Of The Ramones (£14-99, Omnibus Press) by Jim McCarthy & Brian Williamson

Dragon Resurrection s/c (£13-50, Dark Horse) by Mark Byers & Erfan Fajar

Sonic Universe vol 5: The Tails Adventure (£8-99, Archie Comic Publications) by various

Borderlands Origins s/c (£13-50, IDW) by Mike Neumann & Agustin Padilla

Godzilla: Half Century War s/c (£14-99, IDW) by James Stokoe

Age Of Bronze vol 1: A Thousand Ships s/c (£14-99, Image) by Eric Shanower

Age Of Bronze vol 2: Sacrifice s/c (£14-99, Image) by Eric Shanower

Drowntown Book One h/c (£14-99, Jonathan Cape) by Robbie Morrison & Jim Murray

Demon Knights vol 2: The Avalon Trap s/c (£10-99, DC) by Paul Cornell & Bernard Chang

FF vol 4 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta

Journey Into Mystery (featuring Lady Sif) vol 1: Stronger Than Monsters s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Kathryn Immonen & Valerio Schiti

Bakuman vol 19 (£6-99, Viz) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

Saturn Apartments vol 7 (£9-99, Viz) by Hisae Iwaoka

Sunny vol 1 h/c (£16-99, Viz) by Taiyo Matsumoto

X 3-in-1 Ed vol 5 (£14-99, Viz) by Clamp
BREAKING NEWS!

ITEM! Beautiful six-page comic called BOTTLING IT by John Cei Douglas. *swoons* John you might know from my favourite pages of SOLIPSISTIC POP 4 (and there were an awful lot of glorious pages to compete with there!) Also, BUFFALO ROOTS (quantities of both very limited now).

ITEM! Interior pages from AMERICAN VAMPIRE: THE LONG ROAD TO HELL one-shot due 12th June. You can order AMERICAN VAMPIRE: THE LONG ROAD TO HELL here while you can read the Page 45 reviews of AMERICAN VAMPIRE by clicking here.

ITEM! Extraordinary evocation of depression in words and pictures by Allie Brosh sent to me by Pam McIlroy (@pamreader). Never suffered from depression myself, so it’s helped me get a firmer grip on what a lot of people I know are going through. Important.

ITEM! Oh My God! Yes, a total OMG moment as Art from Kate Brown, Emma Vieceli and Paul Duffield goes on public display around the Tower Of London! Three of my favourite comicbook creators in one massive, history-orientated swoop. So fucking cool, I am swearing. Sorree!

ITEM! Gorgeous colours and character designs in this Kickstarter, HONEYDEW AND MAGIC by Nikki Stu, creator of HERALD OWLETT. And it’s doing so well!

ITEM! Lovely feature on Page 45 by Nottingham Live was posted on Monday, very kind indeed! I swear to God that you cannot see the sorry state of our ceiling tiles when you’re inside the shop. You simply won’t notice. But they’re all part of our major plans for 2015.

ITEM! Bestest of all, however, PAGE 45 MAKES GUEST-APPEARANCE IN MY CARDBOARD LIFE!

Yowsa! This is SUCH an honour! Some amazing photography there as Pauline and Cardboard Colin hop through the letter box at home and trundle through town via the Arboretum Graveyard. Picnics! Yay!

For more Pauline and Colin, see our stock of ST. COLIN AND THE DRAGON, RECYCLOST and MY CARDBOARD LIFE itself, all signed and sketched in by Philippa Rice for free.

 - Stephen

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