Reviews June 2013 week one

And children being children, it never occurs to them that the very idea they could fill those gaps themselves, with their own creations, ought to be a) totally impossible and b) a very, very bad idea. 

 – Jonathan on Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf 

Sunny (£16-99, Viz) by Taiyo Matsumoto –

The Sunny of the title is a car, an old yellow Datsun Sunny which sits outside the orphanage. It doesn’t run anymore but it still has an important role: it’s the only place where no adults are allowed. The people who take care of the children are very nice but everyone needs their own space; to play or imagine or smoke or just hang out.  So when they want to do that the kids go to the Sunny and “drive” it to wherever they want to go (the desert, the moon, their old houses) or sometimes just sit and chat and argue about the who fancies who and what they are going to be when they grow up. 

From such a simple concept comes an utterly beautiful, luminous book about childhood, love, abandonment and yearning. There are tinges of otherness around the edges of this story, reminiscent of his earlier book TEKKON KINKREET, however for the most part these seem like fairly regular kids dealing with their slightly irregular situation. Because what I didn’t realise until I read this book (and then took to the internet for further explanation) is that many Japanese orphans have at least one living parent or guardian who has, for whatever reason, chosen to leave them in the care of the state. So most of the kids here are in limbo: they can’t legally be adopted, their parents still have ultimate control over their lives but they know in all likelihood that no-one will ever come to take them back home. Some parents visit their kids; bring them presents or take them for days out. Others live nearby meaning that their children can pop round to see them but ultimately go back to the orphanage in the evening to eat and sleep. No wonder then that the Sunny is a sacred space where kids rule and adults have no say. 

The cast of children and young adults are skilfully written, each character developed with care as we get to know them through glimpses of their lives. Some moments are utterly heartbreaking; we see the kids wrestle with questions, perfectly reasonable questions given the circumstances, and we worry that their young minds might settle on answers that will set the on the “wrong” path. On the other hand we watch them troop on together, looking after each other, accepting each other, playing, laughing and building bonds which transcend the rejection the adult world has presented them with. They have their own universe with their own rules; they are smart beyond their years. 

The art is absolutely gorgeous. Matsumoto has added an inky wash shading to his black and white art which gives warmth and depth to the detail. The painted colour sections are lovely, as are the opaque covers, front and back, and the chapter breaks. The book is a beautiful thing to hold in your hand. Sometimes scratchy and intense, sometimes sweeping and clean, Matsumoto seems to know just how much ink to put on the page to get the feeling of the scene across. Each child is unique, each set of eyes holds something back or lets something out at a key moment. My favourite book of the year so far, I can’t wait for the next volume. 


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

Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf h/c (£9-99, Walker Books) by David Almond & Dave McKean…

“This is a very peculiar world!” He looked up at the clouds.
“Why are there so many gaps and spaces in it?” he yelled. The Gods took no notice.
“It needs more things in it!” he said. Still no notice.
Little Ben sighed. “Have you ever looked into an empty space?” he asked his friends.
“Of course we have,” they said.
“Sometimes,” Little Ben continued, “when you look into an empty space, you can kind of see something in it.
“Something in an empty space?” said Harry.
“Yes,” said Ben. “You can sort of see what’s missing from it.”
“Like what?” asked Harry.
“Like… a mouse.”
“A mouse?” said Harry. “What on earth is a mouse?”
“I don’t quite know,” said Ben. He wrinkled his nose and scratched his head. “It’s a mousey kind of thing, I suppose.”

Harry, Sue and little Ben live in a blissful world, full of amazing vistas and wonderful animals, created by the Gods above. Gods who, having produced such beautiful creations, understandably felt a bit hungry. So, they decided they ought to have some cake, but then, feeling rather full and weary they thought they should probably have a little nap too. After a few days of such relaxing, and much self-congratulation about having created a near-paradise, they duly forgot all about the fact that it wasn’t quite finished… In fact, there were rather a few empty spaces to be found once you started to look around for them – as inquisitive children are prone to doing. And children being children, it never occurs to them that the very idea they could fill those gaps themselves, with their own creations, ought to be a) totally impossible and b) a very, very bad idea. Obviously, point a) turns out to be surprisingly easy, while point b)… well, let’s just say that the title of the book gives a very good indication of the escalating dangers the children are about to put themselves through… 

This is a most engaging and very enchanting modern fairytale of the dangers of biting off more than you can chew, and indeed the dangers of creating something that can bite off far more of you than you would ever want chewed. I enjoyed David’s story immensely, with his lazy, glib Gods and boisterous, unabashed kids, but as with their previous collaborations THE SAVAGE and SLOG’S DAD, it is Dave’s art which brings the witty narrative into vivid, lustrous, breath-taking life. There is a great pull quote from Neil Gaiman on the back cover which sums Dave and the art in this work very nicely indeed, “I don’t think there is anything Dave McKean cannot do as artist.”

So, I decided to put this work the ultimate test and read it to my two-year-old nutjob at bedtime. Being the demanding jumping bean she is, she has a high quality threshold for nocturnal recitals, and indeed I have had a couple of books forcibly closed on my fingers as not suitably entertaining enough. This, though, was a resounding success, as I suspected it might be, given the high animal content which is always a winner with my daughter à la CHU’S DAY and I WANT MY HAT BACK. Indeed, a rare immediate encore was requested, duly granted, though a second curtain call had to be refused on the grounds that Daddy needed to finally put a certain someone to bed. Tears ensued, but were quickly stemmed on the promise of future performances. I think we can state therefore this was an undoubted hit given how much I liked it too! 


Buy Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Wake #1 of 10 (£2-25, Vertigo) by Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy.

“No… It can’t… We’re so close…”

Sub-aquatic, ice-cold horror from the writer of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, SEVERED, BATMAN: BLACK MIRROR, and the current run on BATMAN (BATMAN: COURT OF OWLS etc) and the glorious, gawp-worthy artist of PUNK ROCK JESUS, JOE THE BARBARIAN and HELLBLAZER: CITY OF DEMONS.

In twenty years time: a wetsuited woman glides over the narrow waterways between skyscrapers, one of which is leaning precariously. A dolphin harnessed with scientific survey equipment surfaces from the water lapping gently against a brownstone’s roof. And then… another tidal wave.

Now: marine biologist Lee Archer, sacked from NOAA and on the Department of Homeland Security’s shit list, is contacted by Agent Cruz and coerced into flying to Alaska’s South Slope to analyze an eerie, underwater call. Base camp is thousands of feet below sea level:

“Jesus, what is that?”
“It’s called a Ghost Rig. It’s a prototype. Yes, it’s a secret. No, it’s not legal. But, it has the potential to extract nearly two hundred barrels a day, so there it is.”

There Lee discovers she is not alone: Dr. Marin, professor of folklore and mythology has been summoned to study an artefact; the enigmatic Meeks to study tissue samples. And where do you think these sounds and tissue samples are coming from? Oh dear, that’s never a good idea…

It’s classic Doctor Who, actually: illegal, environmentally disastrous strip-mining of natural resources invading the territory of an ancient and previously undiscovered species. Exacerbate situation by [redacted] and then belatedly bring in the experts before all hell breaks loose in a half-lit, confined environment.

Exceptional opening sequence.


Buy The Wake #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus vol 1 (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Kazuo Koike &  Goseki Kojima.

“Happiness Is Freedom, and Freedom Is Courage”
– Pericles, Funeral Oration

For centuries the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled the lords of Japan’s feudal domains with an iron fist, dispatching samurai to subdue and control the population through intimidation and ruthless brutality. This they performed with relish, taking the opportunity to increase their own hegemony in the process. In 1655, however, the Ogami clan vanished completely; in 1681 so did the Yagyu clan. This, then, is a possible explanation for these events, a classic Japanese tale of loyalty, power, corruption, betrayal and revenge. 

Unlike more romanticised fantasies, the samurai here – other than Lonewolf himself – are exposed as nothing more laudable than the highly skilled bullies and puppets they were. Nor is there a great deal of honour to be found amongst them (Lonewolf notes more common courtesy amongst the Yakuza he meets than amongst samurai), and when it’s invoked it tends to mask mere pride or self-interest at its heart. On one occasion early on a promise of immunity is granted only to be shamefully ignored, as is the honourable option of a one-on-one duel in favour of a mounted ambush, the supposedly brave and mighty warriors seeking safety in numbers and trickery.

As you might suppose from his name, Lonewolf no longer considers that Happiness Is Belonging*, having fallen victim to the power struggles at the top of this corrupt and treacherous hierarchy (the story is partially revealed at the end of the first volume). Instead he finds the courage and determination to face the world alone, relying on his own skill and intuition, trusting no one and nothing other than his own judgement and conscience.  Travelling with his infant son, he offers his services as an assassin, only to discover, as often as not, that those same agents who hire him seek his destruction. The work is filled with Lonewolf’s iconoclastic pronouncements and selfless actions, standing up to authority, deflating humbug and exposing hypocrisy, dishonour and deceit. If it wasn’t such dodgey territory I’d assert that, just like Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (a satire of society where form and manners take priority of genuine goodwill), there’s something of the New Testament about all this.

So what of the form itself? Each chapter is self-contained and, unlike the dog’s dinner of a film (Shogun Assassin, now available in its original, more coherent trilogy), there is more than enough room for the quiet, even tender moments here. This is where Koike and Kojima’s storytelling skills come to the fore, in the pacing and evocation of mood through landscape, whilst Kojima’s sense of movement is both acute and intelligently communicated. The tranquillity of a forest walk with gently falling leaves, for example, may suddenly explode into a fluid frenzy of speedlines and blurred limbs as an attack is instigated and parried; you’ll find yourselves turning over a whole succession of pages without necessarily having seen anything – just the impression of movement – perfect for conveying the preternatural reflexes of the matchless Ronin. And then, as I said, there’s the delicate handling of atmosphere where solitude is emphasised, subtly, by the use of single trees or potted plants, the retreat in ‘Waiting For The Rains’ being a prime example, and internal thoughts are given expression by a change in the weather.

This is a new 3-in-one edition in a taller, broader format.

* A notion being taught to this day in self-styled ‘Bushido’ cults disguised as self-defence classes as an insidious means of recruiting then maintaining power over intitiates. Ironically enough this work – and indeed the legend as a whole – remains immensely popular with this same flock of sheep who appear to miss the point. Wherein, sadly, lies another New Testament parallel.


Buy Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Age Of Bronze volume 2: Sacrifice (£12-99, Image) by Eric Shanower.

Projected to run for seven volumes, this epic, in-depth and dramatic retelling of the Trojan War has garnered Eisner Awards as well as praise from outside our industry from the likes of The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly. Booklist said that it “unfolds with heartbreaking determination,” and they’ve pinpointed one of its chief strengths.

If you’re not that well schooled in the classics, this will prove startling and compelling; if you are, then so much of the power lies in the inevitable, for you know just who is doomed, how and why – but it won’t stop you desperately hoping that they somehow avoid their destiny. Speaking of destiny, this is a time where the population believed in Fate, believed in prophecy and portent and, unfortunately, sacrifice. It’s amazing what your beliefs will make you do, but that doesn’t make you any less courageous. For some, it will prove the ultimate test: betray your army, or sacrifice your daughter? It’s not so cut-and-dried as it sounds. You have responsibility not just to your kingdom but to thousands of lives under your command. And if it does sound like a no-brainer then Shanower will convince you otherwise, for this is huge enough that everyone is rounded out, given a depth and an individual perspective.

There are some superb visual devices as well, from the mists that rise to isolate Helen and Paris atop Troy’s tallest tower (“It’s as if we’re the only people left in the entire world.”), to the pages of constant wind, denoted by “SHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS” between each tier of panels until Agamemnon’s daughter leaves her tent for the final time. It’s a very clear panel structure as well, like Talbot’s THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT or Gary Spencer Millidge’s STRANGEHAVEN, making it effortlessly readable by those unused to comics.

Also there’s a map, for the names have all changed (along with the territorial boundaries), a couple of family trees, and a great big glossary of names including how to pronounce them.

For far, far more, please see my new review of AGE OF BRONZE VOL 1: A THOUSAND SHIPS.


Buy Age Of Bronze vol 2: Sacrifice s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Mere s/c (£14-99, Picturebox) by  C.F.

“Welcome Back.”
“Go To Hell.”

From the creator of POWR MASTRS (two volumes reviewed with great approbation) comes a collection of zines, one of which purports to be a “suicide prevention comic”. I really couldn’t tell, but on the subject of suicide I wholeheartedly recommend THE NEXT DAY by John Porcellino & co.

It’s not all comics. Under a gorgeous, blue-striped, burgundy cover framed in a black and white chain of spot varnish there are also random photographs, rudimentary sketches, eye-pleasing patterns and… hmmm. Why don’t I let Nicole Rudick describe her reaction? From the introduction:

““Huh?” or a similar expression of total confusion, accompanied my first reading of C.F.’s zines – and I think I’m not alone in that.”


“The comics are narratively perplexing, and though the elements one expects to find in a zine are there – artwork, graphics, stories, notes from the author – their meaning and significance are largely enigmatic.”


“But C.F.’s work is disarming; it elicits, as Ruscha says, “a kind of ‘Huh’,” meaning bafflement but also surprise, an inability to stop thinking about it after putting it down.”

I wouldn’t go that far.



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

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz s/c new format (£10-99, Marvel) by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young.

Whilst remembering A) that this is based on the original prose not the film and B) it has sold by the shedload in its two prior formats, this is what I knee-jerked some several years ago about its first chapter.

I don’t know if this is new Oz material from Eric (AGE OF BRONZE) Shanower or some of his old work. Nor do I care because I hate The Wizard Of fucking Oz film with a passion. It’s everything I loathe: twee morality, camp acting, gaudy colours, bloody fucking pigtails on prissy little girls, tiny little munchkin people (that might even be what they’re called – how would I know? I’ve never been able to stomach more than seven-second snatches of it), and worst of all, songs!

Whoever first invented the musical should be disinterred, brought back to life, not healed in any goddamn way, shape or form and then subjected to an eternal loop of The Village People’s videos at full blast for ever and ever or at least until America elects Sarah Palin and the whole world goes up in a ball of flames. A ball of pro-life flames, mind – no contradictions there.

However, Skottie Young makes this look better than it has any right to whilst still calling itself The Wizard Of Oz, so I could not possible scowl at you for ordering this. If, however, you do so whilst telling me how sorry you feel for Judy “tragic” Garland then I will lock you our cellar and let the snakes there have their say.*

*Emily was horrified last weekend to hear me tell a customer’s young son that if he touched the figures in our cabinet one more time then a trap door would open and he’d fall into our pit of snakes. On reflection – you know, when the tears started streaming down the poor kid’s face – it was a mite harsh, but I tell you: those tiny little hands never so much as wandered in the vicinity of that cabinet again.


Buy The Wonderful Wizard of Oz s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Tales Of The Buddha Before He Was Enlightened s/c (£10-99, Renegade Arts Entertainment) by Alan Grant & Jon Haward…

“That’s some willpower you got, Jesus.”
“Yeah. Have to admit I was wavering over the babes.”
“So how’d you manage?”
“Gotta thank my dad. The bastard watches everything I do.”

Think Alan Grant attempting to channel the spirit of Gilbert FURRY FREAK BROTHERS Shelton, with a dash of more simplistic, ribald Viz (the irreverent British publication, not the Japanese publisher) humour thrown in for good measure, and you’ve pretty much got it nailed. I will say it is rather a one trick pony in terms of the jokes, as Buddha wanders the Earth smoking bubonic chronic and nailing pretty much every available piece of skirt. Some will no doubt find it hilarious, others be left yawning. Me? I’ll simply leave you with some ancient Buddhist wisdom I have often found appropriate in many a situation. With the ideal comes the actual…


Buy Tales Of The Buddha Before He Was Enlightened s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Lucifer vol 1 combined edition (£22-50, DC) by Mike Carey & Scott Hampton.

Reviews of previous volumes one and two which comprise this tome are reproduced below.

Volume one…

The devil is walking the earth for, in the SANDMAN series, Lucifer quit his day job in hell for a piano bar in Los Angeles. Now he’s received an assignment from The Creator Himself, and if Lucifer agrees to do Heaven’s dirty work he can name his own price. It’s a journey that will require harsh sacrifices, but then it won’t be Lucifer making them!

Reprints #1-4 of the main series plus the preceding three-issue mini that featured Scott Hampton’s painted art and some very fine dialogue.

Volume two…

I’ve been avoiding the Gaiman strip-mining experience for some time now, and although I can’t remember what it was that made me think twice and actually read this cover to cover, I’m grateful for it. The problem is that you look at these things, at the pages in front of you, and you just think “Oh god, where is the joy, where is the passion, the slightest flicker of flair?” Because Ormston aside, the art here is just so thin, so flat, so unimaginative, so lacking in fire, and when you’ve been given such exotic locations, such an epic scale, and such a considered sense of repressed melodrama and timing, it seems so ungrateful to deliver such uninspired, asexual bloodlessness.

All credit to Carey then for persevering when presented with the art, for not only are the plots – the intrigues and manipulations – clever, and the revelations perfectly placed, but the pace is jaunty as we shift scenes at an almost metronomic pace which, far from being monotonous, lends the storytelling a clipped vibrancy and momentum, keeping up with the constantly twisting plights of the various players. Above all, it’s Lucifer’s dialogue, which is played with an economical, dry wit, a self-assurance without triumphalism. I’m not really going to bother with the plot here; I tried but did the book a total disservice. Though I have to advise that this isn’t Gaiman so I was expecting total tedium, which may account for the extent of my praise.


Buy Lucifer vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Clone vol 1: First Generation s/c (£9-99, Image) by David Schulner & Juan Jose Ryp.

Dr. Luke Taylor is going to be a dad.

A man of medicine, he is, however, utterly confounded by the practicalities of assembling a flat-packed crib. Eight left-over screws is not a good sign, as well we all know. He’s also ill-prepared for his new role in life given that his own father abandoned him, and now he’s having dreams of being hunted down and shot in the chest.

So imagine Luke’s shock when he hears a crash downstairs, follows a thick trail of blood to the kitchen, and discovers an identical twin collapsed under the draining board with a gaping hole in the guts.

“Well,” observes the twin, “this is awkward.”

Amelia Taylor is having a sonogram. It doesn’t go as smoothly as she hoped: the baby’s growth is unusually accelerated. But before tests can be conducted, Luke appears and strong-arms her out of the surgery. But if that’s her husband, who is calling her cell phone?

Vice President Mike Charles is voting in favour of a ban on embryonic stem cell research, even though his daughter suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. No matter, he has his eye firmly on the Presidential top spot and for that he needs conservative voters with their myopic votes. Embryonic stem cell research is a sin against God… which they’ve been merrily committing for thirty-odd years.

What follows is a thoroughly frantic page-turner with an ever-increasing if superficially identical cast. Just bear in mind that the nurture of nature is going to produce very different results when conducted in far from laboratory conditions.

Carnage comes courtesy of the artist on Warren Ellis’ BLACK SUMMER and NO HERO .


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

Superior Spider-Man vol 1: My Own Worst Enemy s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Dan Slott & Ryan Stegman, Giuseppe Camuncoli.

“Ahhh! I can’t take this anymore! It’s – It’s crazy-town banana-pants!”

First thing you should know: this isn’t a sideshow spin-off. This is the main Spider-title replacing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, however temporarily, and we don’t know how temporary Peter’s current condition is yet.

In SPIDER-MAN: DYING WISH the mop-topped minger known as Doctor Octopus side-stepped certain death by swapping minds with Peter Parker as his own sorry, saggy old carcass expired. Now he inhabits Peter Parker’s youthful body and pretty face whilst inheriting Peter’s memories, his relatives and acquaintances, including a confused Mary Jane Watson. This has catalysed a reformation of sorts, for Otto Octavius is now determined to fight crime as Spider-Man but with his own, warped set of priorities and a new, more methodical approach which somehow eluded our Peter. Doctor Octavius has a very different modus operandi

And this is the delight: some of Otto’s innovations are genuinely clever and infinitely more practical; some of his strategies risk ruining Spider-Man’s reputation for good; some of his quick thinking has paid dividends which poor Peter never saw; but some of his costume modifications are dangerously diabolical. Meanwhile some of the much older man’s moves on Peter’s young loved ones are positively icky.

And all Peter Parker can do is float there and watch…

Oh, he is far from gone, I can assure you! There is enormous comedy potential to be had here and Dan Slott has seized it, revelling in the dramatic irony that is everyone’s ignorance except Carlie Cooper’s.

Moreover, the longer this goes on, the more it makes sense that it was Dr. Octopus who finally seized control of Peter Parker’s life, for they share so much in scientific background and acumen. Otto can take full advantage of Peter’s position at Horizon Labs, he’s just less likely to share. He can be convincingly savvy in all of these spheres and, in addition, his arrogance comes across to those not in the know merely as renewed self-confidence: the diffident ditherer is gone, and some women find that attractive…

Pretty much impressed by the art as well which comes across as Eric Larsen inked by Howard Chaykin on Ryan Stegman’s part, then with Giuseppe Camuncoli it becomes something more akin to mid-John Romita Jr inked by Eric Larsen.

Above all, this is far from assembly-line fisticuffs. It is very well thought-through. What could so easily have been a gimmick merely treated as such by 1990s writers has instead been seized as an opportunity to surprise.

It is bananas, for sure, but it is far from pants. It is instead, crazy-town banana-pants.

And I think that is where we came in.


Buy Superior Spider-Man vol 1: My Own Worst Enemy s/c and read the Page 45 review here

All New X-Men vol 2: Here To Stay h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez, Stuart Immonen.

“Here’s the pitch. I don’t care about mutants. I don’t care about the good mutants and I don’t care about the bad mutants. I used to. Sometimes I cared a lot.
“But you know what? Charles Xavier is dead. And so is his dream.”

Previously in ALL-NEW X-MEN VOL 1: the Beast has brought the original X-Men forward through time in order to shock Scott Summers AKA Cyclops out of declaring a mutant revolution and so risk a civil war and its potential, genocidal backlash. The first confrontation between Uncanny teams old and new was explosive and the time-rush has triggered Jean Grey’s latent telepathic powers way too early. She’s discovered how they lived and how she died. She has determined that they will stay, and she is not above using her new-found, mind-bending abilities to ensure that this happens.

Meanwhile they live at the new school for gifted mutants run by Wolverine and Kitty Pryde, and Kitty is attempting to train each of the volatile youngsters to survive the present.

“Now you listen, lady, I’ve been an X-Man for –“
“What? About three weeks?”
“I fought Magneto!”
“You threw snowballs at him.”
“Oh yeah? You know Unus The Untouchable? I totally touched him! (That sounded wrong.)”

Dear Bobby Drake. I love the way Immonen draws his early-teen ice form: all soft snow and shiny coal eyes.

Now Angel meets his future self who evades explaining when has happened to his wings; Captain America discovers what the Beast has done; the younger Cyclops steals Wolverine’s bike and comes face to face with a world he cannot comprehend along with a certain shape-shifting, blue-skinned spinner of half-truths with plans of her own which drag in S.H.I.E.L.D. Finally, the current, renegade Cyclops teleports into town with an offer:

“To me, my X-Men!”

Marvel’s insistence on releasing as many titles as possible twice a month has inevitably led to lapses in quality, and the Angel episode is both out of character and excruciating in its lack of lustre. Plus – whether or not directed by Bendis – David Marquez’s panel composition is virtually unreadable in places. Enough with the unnecessarily confusing layouts, especially across double-page spreads! I’ve been reading comics for 40+ years and took several wrong turns.

That aside, it’s all ramping up beautifully and, having read ahead in the serialised floppies, I can promise you much meat ahead. The cliffhanger will have you wriggling in your seats and the ramifications will be severe.


Buy All New X-Men vol 2: Here To Stay 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.


Misty Circus h/c (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Victoria Frances

John K presents Comic Book h/c (£25-99, IDW) by various

Walking Dead vol 18: What Comes After (£10-99, Image) by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

The Eye Of The World: The Graphic Novel vol 1 s/c (£11-99, Tor) by Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon & Chase Conley

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics vol 5 (£14-99, IDW) by various

The Crow: Skinning The Wolves s/c (£13-50, IDW) by James O’Barr & Jim Terry

Batman And Robin vol 1: Born To Kill s/c (£12-99, DC) by Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason

Batman And Robin vol 2: Pearl h/c (£18-99, DC) by Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason

Harley Quinn: Night And Day s/c (£12-99, DC) by Karl Kesel & Terry Dodson, Pete Woods

Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four vol 9 (£18-99, Marvel) by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Spider-Man: Danger Zone s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Zeb Wells & Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Steve Dillon

Blood-C vol 2 (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Ranmaru Kotone


ITEM! Fascinating comic on drug addiction research by Stuart McMillen sent to me by my old mate Nigel Brunsden (@Mannaz) whom I worked with at Fantastic Store Birmingham. He introduced Antony Johnston to CEREBUS. #truefact

ITEM! Worldess, tactile comic for the blind sent to me by Richard Hanks (@FolkyDokey). I’d love to get my hands on a copy.

ITEM! Oh dear GOD! School capitulates to mass fear of fundamentalists by banning even-handed (equal opportunity?) cartoon satire which just this once happens to have the temerity to take on Islam after addressing other, equally repressive organised religions. Thereby proving the point of my final sub-clause. Via @CBLDF (Comicbook Legal Defence Fund), obv.

ITEM! Comic on courage, vulnerability and surviving sexual abuse by psychologist Nina Burrowes (@NinaBurrowes). Please watch the video at that link – this is so important. Nina Burrowes calls out for artists to help create that comic here.

ITEM! Brilliant new Billy Bragg single on DIY-fail – video features a wealth of UK comic talent (err, as in comedians)

 – Stephen

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