Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews December 2015 week one

Puma Blues Complete Saga h/c (£22-50, Dover) by Stephen Murphy & Michael Zulli.

“Intelligent and urgent mythology for the end of the millennium,” wrote Neil Gaiman.

I’m not sure when. It could have been any time during the last two decades since this last saw print, and it’s never been completed until now with a new forty-page conclusion by Murphy and Zulli.

Rich in wildlife, the howling coyote on its own seems worth the price of admission to me. It’s just a shame there were any humans – on so many levels and indeed ever in this context.

A forward-thinking forewarning about “environmental degradation” and “ecological ruin”, as the series kicks off we have already poisoned our waters with acid rain to the extent that they have become poisonous to giant Manta Rays which have instead taken to the skies and hang from branches by their prehensile tails like bats.

Imagine poisoning the air that we breathe to the extent that cities become toxic to humans! Oh. Wait. We have. We did it in England following the Industrial Revolution, a lesson we singularly failed to learn from. Hello China! *waves*

It’s a miracle that much of this material ever saw print at all, for its publishing history – after the most unlikely but promising start at Dave Sim’s Aardvark One International – contains all kinds of crazy, caught as it was in petty comic-industry squabbles, very much an innocent victim of distributor Diamond USA’s vindictive belligerence.

SWAMP THING’s Stephen Bissette is on hand with a sweeping fourteen-page afterword explaining every element of that (which I remember all too well), providing also an overview of the aesthetics and intentions behind what was in part a very personal story written by Stephen Murphy who was working through the loss of his father and wandering alone round the shores of the Quabbin Reservoir in search of a real, live puma. Perhaps he was shadowed by one of these “ghost cats” but failed to spot it, much like the protagonist here.

What I don’t remember in enough detail is the series itself so I confess that this is more of a dim recollection than a review. I don’t have time to re-read five hundred and fifty pages at this time of year.

Melancholic, elegiac, some pages were dense in reverie and introspection while others left Zulli to wow you with wildlife. Even so, I’m not trying to sell you this as something as Attenborough-accessible as the magnificent, painted, natural world graphic novels LOVE: FOX or LOVE: TIGER. One of the joys of a collection like this at the beginning of an artist’s career is seeing her or him develop on the page. Much is made of Zulli’s love of the Pre-Raphaelites which he shared with Barry Windsor-Smith, but a glance at the earlier human-centric pages shows also shows a huge debt to Bryan Talbot’s ADVENTURES OF LUTHOR ARKWRIGHT too.

The flying Manta Rays, however, are a fine example of what to expect. Doesn’t that sound so romantic, like the moments of dazzling, fantastical glory in Shaun Tan’s THE ARRIVAL? But they’d only taken to the skies because we poisoned their natural habitat, the air that they breathe: water. In case you believe that Murphy and Zulli held out any hope for the future of this planet’s ecosystems, towards the end the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – whilst un-sign-posted by Murphy – rode unmistakeably into town (town being the irradiated sands of a Nevada nuclear test crater) to declare in Spanish with a confident finality:

“The Earth is ours.”

All of which brings us to the four-page PUMA BLUES self-contained short story written by Alan Moore and pencilled by Stephen Bissette then inked by Mike Zulli. It’s reprinted in the back here following Bissette’s lucid introduction.

Alan Moore has a commendable history of rescuing life from death; specifically life from death through sex.

Sex and death have been intertwined since Shakespearian times when “to die” meant to orgasm. But when AIDS reared its awful head and Thatcher sought to criminalise education in her repugnant Clause 28, Alan Moore wrote a passionate same-sex love poem entitled ‘The Mirror Of Love’. He then went on to write the LOST GIRLS graphic novel for Melinda Gebbie to illustrate. It was set on the eve of war, when so many young men were about to be sent to obliterate one another at precisely the same time in their lives that they should have been procreating instead. Gebbie eventually became Alan’s wife, and don’t you just love the idea of a piece of literary erotica being born by two beautiful people in love?

Here he takes the air-borne Manta Rays’ risky but thrilling new mating ritual, copulating in the sky, entering each other at twenty miles an hour then plummeting in oblivious, post-coital free-fall towards to the water below which will kill them if they can’t break off from their ecstasy in time.


Buy Puma Blues Complete Saga h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Take It As A Compliment (£14-99 Singing Dragon) by various & Maria Stoian…

“I think maybe it was a bit my fault. Maybe I am too nice.”

‘Maybe I Am Too Nice’ is actually the title of one of the twenty anonymous true stories adapted by the talented Maria Stoian contained within this tremendously powerful anthology. In fact she renders the whole spectrum of sexual harassment and violence from verbal abuse through to rape in such a selection of varied artistic styles I initially didn’t realise they were illustrated by the same person!

Crucially though, she’s chosen styles which are so divorced from the photorealistic that these could be anyone’s stories… So when I tell you I can see hints of the likes of Isabella THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH Greenberg, Brecht THE MAKING OF Evens, Joann THE LITTLE PRINCE Sfar and William THE BIND Goldsmith in her art, you’ll hopefully know exactly what I mean and nod approvingly.

That sense that the protagonists could be you, the reader – and I should add at this point that there are stories contained within which also touch upon female sexual harassment towards males, and also same-sex harassment (though the vast majority are male on female reflecting a sad statistical truth) – is neatly summed up in the glorious cover, where myriad people are chatting to each other in small groups at a social gathering, except one of the figures is a reflective silhouette… This might actually be my favourite cover of the year, I think.

The stories themselves range from the amusing to the downright harrowing. You might initially bristle at the suggestion that there can be any humour to be found in the thorny topic of sexual harassment. You shouldn’t, because what I am referring to is the absurdity of the some of the perturbing behaviour displayed, to the degree that it is clearly the actions of someone who is somewhat unhinged, perhaps sometimes mentally as well as socially, rather than out and out, calculated, premeditated actions. Though there are stories here that do feature precisely that sort of horrific behaviour too…

I think this anthology very neatly shows, therefore, that the reasons behind peoples’ inappropriate and unwanted sexual behaviour towards recipients are as multitudinous as the scale of seriousness. Which isn’t to say verbal encounters from a blindly enamoured individual, utterly unreciprocated, can’t be just as disturbing and frightening for the person concerned as where there is intentional malice or intention to cause distress, but still, upon occasion, it can provide some levity, at least after the fact. Other stories definitely just left me shaking my head in despair about some of my gender though. The title gives some indication of what more than a few of the idiotic perpetrators thought their victim’s response ought to be.

This work is exactly the right sort of material to bring the discussion regarding sexual consent and respect for others, in all its facets, into the light of the mainstream, where it needs to be, for people to be educated about their actions in this sphere and the consequences they will have on others. But above and beyond that worthy fact, it is also a gripping collection of biographical comics brilliantly illustrated which I found fascinating to read. Also very recently recommended on this topic is Una’s exceptional autobiographical BECOMING UNBECOMING.


Buy Take It As A Compliment and read the Page 45 review here

Limp Wrist (£3-99, Paper Rocket Minicomics) by Scout Wolfcave & Penina Gal.

In which people prove deeply unpleasant.

You’ll notice immediately that the only anthropomorphic character is the narrator: everyone else is human. It’s a device employed for precisely the same reason Dave Sim chose to portray his own protagonist as an anthropomorphised aardvark surrounded by humans in CEREBUS: he was the ultimate outsider.

So here too the narrator is the ultimate outsider, ostracised from an early age by father, step-father and mother alike, castigated by teachers in elementary school and then rounded on by people who “chose to become agitated into a state of targeted aggression”.

Yes, chose. That word itself is chosen with due deliberation.

Why all this bile, this vitriol, this horrible, hurtful, undermining viciousness?

The narrator was deemed far too feminine.




Oh, well done, us. What a brilliant reason for hating someone: their softness.

It’s a succinct thirteen pages of story which builds beautifully to a reveal whose most powerful, painful sentence comes on the penultimate page about what’s been lost.

It really is to weep.


Buy Limp Wrist and read the Page 45 review here

The Understanding Monster 1 (£18-50, Secret Acres) by Theo Ellsworth.

There are mean kids hiding inside your walls.

“I’m making a TV show about your painful decline. It’s on right now!”

“All of your friends are actually me in disguise.”

It is a long time since I’ve read a graphic novel so effectively singular – by which I mean of its own mind, unique.

And it’s very much the matters of the mind at stake here: the struggle so many people endure to forge forward when weighed down – when pulled down – by self-doubt and crippling terrors: the what-ifs of a fear-ridden future; all the terrible things that might happen or what people might say if you do this, that, or anything at all. It can incapacitate you completely. But if one could just turn the Very Important Corner, if one could just… take… the first… step…


That amongst so much more is buried within this extraordinarily tense, visually dense and oh-so-cleverly phrased exploration of a house whose occupants are anything but human and the rooms which we house in our minds. But this is Theo Ellsworth so if you think it is even a fraction as straightforward as that might sound, you are very much mistaken. Once you start in on all the finely nuanced neologisms, you will see precisely what I mean.

““Izadore, The wall that contains your Phantom Skeleton has developed into a mural depicting This Way That Way in inner-space gear, riding an animal guide through a time-crystal field. A giant-sized action figure wearing a multi-dimensional shocks absorption helmet and holding a vehicular wizard staff is suddenly standing guard in front. – Inspector Gimble”
Stop. Fold. Send.

Yes, there’s a sequence of virtuoso, full-page spreads in which the voices of encouragement from without are presented in short bursts of electronic letters “posted” through the panel borders (or walls of the house) to Izadore who’s still struggling to comprehend his/her/its predicament within those panels.

“You really are a house. You’re a room inside yourself.”

I swear that all of this makes perfect sense within the context of the book, the precisely illuminated pages, and the physical and metaphysical quests themselves: every single one of those phrases above. Theo Ellsworth’s love of language is very much in evidence, for there are some fabulous names for the procession of arcane toys and assembled entities: Gortle Piggit, Gallaptor, Prince Bobbins and The-Floor-Is-Water-To-Me – a crocodilian creature which can surface through ripples in the floorboards.

“I remember Heptop. I remember Roytokto. I remember Nestilikose Hom. I remember Williker Nasp and the doll he created to make decisions for him. I remember Tellittome and the tiny version of himself that lived inside his head named Tongue. I remember Milna Parpit, who was the first of them to ever make rooms inside of herself so she could provide others with shelter and entertainment.”

Oh, it’s so clever and so resoundingly lush. There are textures and patterns everywhere: wool, woven linen, ornamental wallpaper, feathered scales and whorled wood. Within the ultra-inventive panel and page configurations the colours are dark and opaque and speak of ancient homes: greens and blues and rich, ruddy-brown wood and fur. Fur? Izadore first manifests itself as a mouse. Very timid and susceptible to distractions.


It all begins when the clock strikes Negative Nine.



Buy The Understanding Monster vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Sea Urchin (£5-99, Retrofit / Big Planet) by Laura Knetzger.

“My social confusion is getting out of hand.”

A personal work which will speak volumes to so many, this is a substantial exploration of inner turmoil during an age in which signals have become noise, the babbling multitudes on social media threatening to drown anything resembling a word like “coherent”.

There’s a page on which Knetzer is sat semi-relaxed at her laptop – head thoughtfully in hand – endless empty posts rising from its monitor. Her toes twitch, tellingly.

“I don’t understand what these people are saying.”

There’s a similar scene earlier on in a bar which is all but obliterated under a snow-storm of equally empty speech balloons, the horizontal panels crushed under their own weight.

“I’d really like to express myself.
“But there’s so much fucking jabbering going on already.”

Yet express herself Laura does, eloquently, as all the sounds become so loud “they chew on me” or intrude as uninvited hands into the very folds of her cortex. The written word becomes difficult to concentrate on.

“Then spoken words didn’t make sense.”

She turns to digital pictures to calm her down. She plays simulator games too (“MADE A FRIEND!”). But when I was young there was a television show called ‘Why Don’t You Switch Off Your Television Set And Do Something More Interesting Instead?’

At one point Knetzger finds herself fractured into a small, timid victim of insecurities, buried deep in a hole and dominated by a brash, angry, opinionated and malicious other half left to roam the real world ungoverned by self-restraint. If only she weren’t so self-aware she’d find it easier to bare, but she’s wracked with guilt.

So much of this involves the loss of direction as an artist (“I forgot what my ambitions are”) and the loss of identity, of self. On social media “Everything becomes a performance”. “You can be selective with how you show yourself.”

“If I leave a gap, someone will fill it in.
“People love filling in blanks.”

Looking into the bathroom mirror, Laura picks up a wet facecloth and wipes away her real face drawn in elegant detail to reveal a blank-eyed cartoon stand-in to show the world, a simulacrum with a smile.

It’s a scene very similar to a page in Asaf Hanuka’s THE REALIST – another astute exploration of self, as an individual, an artist, a husband and father – only he employs a marker pen to exactly the same effect.

Don’t we all, from time to time?


Buy Sea Urchin and read the Page 45 review here

Seconds Helping (£4-50, Studio JFISH) by Jason Fischer.

2014 saw the release of one of my three favourite graphic novels of that year, the self-contained SECONDS by SCOTT PILGRIM’s Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Slick, sophisticated and boasting another giant leap in O’Malley’s visual craft, you would never have guessed for five seconds that meeting its deadline involved such an increasingly breakneck race against ever-dwindling time.

This is Jason Fischer’s account of his time working alongside Bryan, living alongside Bryan and inking the graphic novel’s backgrounds as the days tick-tock by far faster than the pages were completed! If you look very closely below the beads of sweat on the cover you can just about make out the prize in Jason’s delirious eyes.

It’s a cautionary tale which almost any student can relate to about not leaving your entire dissertation until the last minute. You know, like we all did.

Here comes the maths:

In July 2013 Jason and Bryan had 6 months in which to ink 322 pages. That’s roughly 54 pages per month; 12 pages per week; under 2 pages a day.

During those relatively leisurely first five months Bryan would ink his characters and send Jason roughly 8 of those pages each week to work on the backgrounds. But then came the crunch: with just five weeks to go they still had 200 pages to ink. That’s now 6 pages a day.

So Bryan asked Jason to move in to his house in Los Angeles. And indeed that process proved relatively leisurely, though not without accidents, until crunch number two: with eight days to go they still had 70 pages left to ink. That’s now 9 pages a day!

So those are facts; I leave Jason to show you what actually went on and reveal their working conditions in Bryan’s home studio as Fischer’s mind starts to frazzle alongside his art here. Like I said, though, you’d never have known from SECONDS itself.

Honesty dictates I confess that this is a slim little booklet for £4-50, but I somehow doubt we’ll have trouble selling it. Especially when it’s unlikely that there will be second helpings.


Buy Seconds Helping and read the Page 45 review here

A Glance Backwards (£14-99, Magnetic Press) by Pierre Paquet & Tony Sandoval.

“Is someone there? Mom, is that you?
“It’s Joey! I’m in here…
“Is someone there? Can you hear me…?”

Joey is eleven years old, lost and alone.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement and a small statuette disappear through his bedroom wall.

Like Alice through her Looking Glass, Joey reached out and instantly tumbled down his own rabbit hole and into a gigantic hour glass, sinking swiftly through its sands before pulled impossibly through its bottleneck.

Since then Joey’s been wandering through gloomy passageways, peeling through curtains and shattering his way through walls, each time encountering strangers who don’t linger long.

He finds himself in frozen limbos, underwater, roaming African desserts and idling for a while at railway stations. He is pointed ever onwards, at one point down a path which leads to a cliff.

Welcome to my dreams: woefully older than Joey I’m still lost and alone, forever on the edge of some precipice or another with time constantly running out.

The vertigo I understand: I’m petrified of heights. But I haven’t got lost since I was last in Venice decades ago and I invited that on myself by eschewing a map and relished each revelatory twist and turn.

I can see why Skottie Young is so enamoured with the art by the creator of guitar-wielding, metal-merchant DOOMBOY (“How to say good-bye to the dead.”).  The two are far from dissimilar.

Sandoval masters the ebbs and the flows, the constantly evolving landscapes of a dream and the ambiguity of strangers, while Pacquet isn’t above unleashing betrayal or a sudden ferocity upon the poor lad. There are moments of comfort and a couple reunited, but also the continual threat of danger when home seems so elusive and impossibly far away.

There is a clue in the coda as to what’s brought this on. I think that this a book about not giving up and the need to keep moving – not sitting on the bench for too long – no matter what’s thrown at you.


Buy A Glance Backwards and read the Page 45 review here

Blue Bottle Mystery – An Asperger Adventure (£12-99, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) by Kathy Hoopman, Mike Medaglia & Rachael Smith…

“No new house, Dad. No new school. No new bed.”

“Stop flapping, Ben. You know I hate it when you do that. What’s wrong with you, kid? Any boy would love all those things. Why can’t you be normal for a change?”

Ben Jones is in many ways just like any other young lad. He’s always in trouble at school with his teacher Miss Browning-Lever, getting picked on by bullies, even falling out with his dad over how to spend their lottery winnings. The problem is that he doesn’t understand why. The world frequently just does not make any sense to him at all. His widower Dad, Jack, is actually a lovely chap, bringing up Ben with just the help of Ben’s Grandma, but occasionally Ben’s apparent obtuseness and complete inability to deal with change drives him to despair. Even winning a life-changing sum of money is seemingly an intractable problem. Eventually, seeking out medical advice, Ben is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I wasn’t remotely familiar with the source material for this adaptation, but the author in question has done a number of Asperger’s-related books, including further adventures in the Aspergers series, so she’s clearly an authority of sorts on the subject. The obvious comparison is the prose book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon from 2003 which was a work I enjoyed immensely. I think this is entirely aimed at a younger non-adult audience, with a view to educating them about Ben’s condition which does make for some unintended, at least on Ben’s part, amusing comedy moments.

The titular adventure comes from Ben and best mate Andy’s discovery of a mysterious blue bottle in the school gardens. They jokingly remark that it might be a genie’s bottle and start rapidly making wishes. When the first two – Ben’s for lots of money and Andy’s for muscles – in the form of a lottery win and a sudden overnight growth spurt come true, they frantically rack their brains to remember what their third wish was. Cue much panic as they remember talking about the bullies blowing up and the school disappearing. That wasn’t their third wish, as you might expect, but clearly the thought that it might have been is enough to tip someone as literal-minded as Ben over the edge into full panic mode!

Adapted by Mike ONE YEAR WISER Medaglia, this will definitely help the cause of enlightening kids as to how and why someone might be hardwired to behave differently than themselves, and hopefully have a little understanding and empathy. It’s illustrated in a very complementary manner by Rachael Smith whose art is gradually softening up stylistically from her earlier, self-published material. It’s an energetic, wide-eyed style that’s entirely appropriate for a kid’s adventure yarn.


Buy Blue Bottle Mystery – An Asperger Adventure and read the Page 45 review here

Dungeon Fun (£12-00, Do Gooder Comics) by Colin Bell & Neil Slorance…

“What did you do? At least the ghosts weren’t eating us!”
“Get out of the way! He won’t harm me… he only eats the cursed!”
“Are you kidding me? You hold the sword! You’re cursed! I explained this!”

It’s just another ordinary day for a most unordinary girl. Stephanie, a human raised by trolls in the muddy moat of a castle when she is nearly sliced in two by a sword falling from the sky. In fact, there’s a lot of things spontaneously fall into the village of Deepmoat, almost as if people (and bridge trolls) keep deliberately throwing them in there…

So when a knight promptly and fatally drops in as well, immediately rising as a ghost cursed to follow whoever has his sword, generally doing their heads in with smart-arsed running commentary, Stephanie has had enough. It’s time to look for some answers, seek out adventure, and generally get out of the godforsaken dump that is Deepmoat. Along the way there’ll be monsters aplenty, more than a few dungeons, but most certainly fun. Who’d have thought that risking life and limb swinging steel could be so invigorating?!


This neatly straddles the divide between ADVENTURE TIME-esque material aimed at teens and adults, and Phoenix-type material like BUNNY VS. MONKEY, FISH HEAD STEVE, STAR CAT BOOK 1 etc. aimed at younger kids. It’s heavy on the laughs and light on the peril without skimping on the danger. Fans of daft fantasy generally will approve. The art style is nice and simple, adding to the cartoon feel.


Buy Dungeon Fun and read the Page 45 review here

Jessica Jones: Alias vol 3 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos.

With some of the best dialogue in the medium, this is such thoroughly accessible crime fiction that fans of Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips may relish it.

It hasn’t been easy, but there is hope in sight.

We’re finally on the road to rehabilitation for Jessica Jones, a woman whose career as a cape was destroyed long before the first chapter opened by something so degrading that it sent her spiralling into a hopeless well of self-loathing only exacerbated by the drink she necked to escape and the sex she gave away freely to anyone who would have her.

Jessica is now a private investigator, but not everyone has loved the results of her investigations. Rule Number One: never ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to. Recently she’s been set up, beaten up, talked down-to by cops and made life more miserable for herself by further sexual misjudgements. But. She’s spoken out against prejudice, helped turn lives around, made up with Luke Cage and is on the cusp of actually dating while sober.

Unfortunately she’s about to meet J. Jonah Jameson.

Jameson is the publisher of the Daily Bugle newspaper. He hires her. He fires her. But that is far from the end of it when a certain sixteen-year-old girl breaks into Jessica’s apartment while off her face, and that will open up a whole world of pain leading Jones to uncover some of the nastiest, corporeally intrusive and kind-of-cannibalistic drug abuse you cannot possibly imagine.

There’s much mirth before we get there, though.

Jonah initially hires Jessica to uncover Spider-Man’s secret identity. Jameson despises superheroes: to him they are glory-seeking, self-serving and not to be trusted whether or not they are masked. During the course of their initial conversation Jameson let’s her know exactly how he feels about Jessica, her former calling and her current profession. Nevertheless Jessica accepts the job, but her quiet, kind and ever-so-clever revenge during the course of her investigations will have you grinning your heads off.

If only she’d left it there. If only she was bereft of good intentions. If only she didn’t care, because it’s Jessica’s compassion which proves her undoing…

She has, however, managed to pick up a nerdish numbskull called Malcolm, a stalker fanboy who keeps coming round to her office in hope of a job and won’t take no for an answer.

“I come around to say hey and you’re never here.”
“Well, why don’t you not do that, then.”

I’ve written plenty about Gaydos’ subtle storytelling – the incremental shifts in expression between panels etc – but not about his emphatic refusal to glam Jones up as a youthful foxstress. She isn’t. She’s world-weary and even refused entry to a nightclub on account of it. But she needs to get in.

“God forgive me for what I am about to do.”

She gets in.

“Fuck me.
“We are doomed as a society.
“Doomed as doomed can be.
“These people are exactly the reason I never go anywhere even remotely resembling any place like this.
“But I didn’t come here to be nauseated. I can stay home for that.”

This was a distinctly feminist series from a company not really renowned for such shenanigans.

In the fourth volume you will finally find out what happened to Jessica that left her barely able to look herself in the mirror or talk to her former colleagues for years. Please see the substantial JESSICA JONES VOL 1 and JESSICA JONES VOL 2 reviews for the much bigger picture.


Buy Jessica Jones: Alias vol 3 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 of 8 (£4-50, DC) by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello & Andy Kubert, Frank Miller.

Oh, I think you can discover this for yourselves!

A project like this pretty much demands you enter it knowing as little as possible.

On the other hand I have to write something to get past the cover so: Andy Kubert’s art is beautiful, skilfully adapted in specific instances to reflect Frank Miller’s. Frank Miller draws the mini-comic within the comic.

See also by Miller (in stock At The Time Of Typing):


That one’s also reviewed, but if the series is ever completed I will be gob-smacked.


Buy Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

Reviews already up if they’re new formats of previous graphic novels. The best of the rest will be reviewed next week while others will retain their Diamond previews as reviews.

Stray Bullets vol 4: Dark Days (£14-99, Image) by David Lapham

Katzine Issue Four (£5-50) by Katriona Chapman

Katzine Issue Three (£5-50) by Katriona Chapman

18 Days vol 1: War Begins s/c (£10-99, Graphic India) by Grant Morrison, Gotham Chopra, others & Jeevan J. Kang, Francesco Biagini

21st Century Tank Girl h/c (£16-99, Titan) by Alan Martin & Jamie Hewlett, Brett Parson, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jonathan Edwards, Jim Mahfood, Craig Knowles, Philip Bond

Big Man Plans (£10-99, Image) by Eric Powell, Tim Wiesch

Dad’s Not All There Any More (£7-99, Singing Dragon) by Alex Demetris

Dan Dare – The 2000 AD Years vol 1 h/c (£30-00, Rebellion) by Pat Mills, Gerry Finley-Day, Steve Moore & Dave Gibbons, Massimo Belardinelli

Filmish (£14-99, SelfMadeHero) by Edward Ross

Harrow County vol 1: Countless Haints s/c (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook

Low Moon (£17-99, Fantagraphics) by Jason

The Only Child h/c (£14-99, Random House / Vertical) by Guojing

The Private Eye h/c (£37-99, Image) by Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin

Spectum vol 22 s/c (£24-00, Flesk) by various

Daredevil vol 4: The Autobiography Of Matt Murdock s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Mark Waid, others & Chris Samnee, Chris Samnee

Deadpool Vs. Thanos s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Tim Seeley & Elmo Bondoc

Marvel 1872: Warzones! s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Gerry Dugan & Nik Virella

Spider-Gwen vol 00: Most Wanted s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Jason Latour & Robbi Rodriguez

Spider-Verse: Warzones! s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Mike Costa & Andre Araujo

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Ryan North & Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Wolverine: Old Man Logan vol 00: Warzones! s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Andrea Sorrentino

X-Men: Years Of Future Past: Warzones! s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Marguerite Bennett & Mike Norton


ITEM! Chris Ware’s cover for the New Yorker based on an audio story then extended into an animation of it!

Parents in particular take note: it’s a cautionary tale – with plenty of chortles – for when, if ever, you child first wants to wear make-up.

ITEM! BARRIER #1, a brand-new comic by Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin. Online!

ITEM! LOVE AND ROCKETSGilbert Hernandez is accepting commissions – and they’re ridiculously affordable!

ITEM! Neil Gaiman’s THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS is adapted and recorded by BBC Radio 4. All episodes available here! He also discusses the myth of Orpheus.

Read Page 45’s review of THE TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS by Neil Gaiman & Eddie Campbell!

ITEM! Neil Gaiman recorded in Syria, raising awareness of and empathy for the plight of Syrian refugees – fundraising too.

Let’s not bomb Syria, please, because: 500,000 civilian casualties in Iraq. In Syria too fatalities would be individual human beings with real lives & loved ones. Thank you.

ITEM! Teachers! The phenomenal Sarah McIntyre has recorded resources for you to teach creating comics in class!

ITEM! Broken Frontier’s fabulous Comicbook Awards 2015: the nominations are in! Vote now!

ITEM! Brilliant! Alex de Campi, “writer of wrongs” on ‘How To Interview A Woman’.

“She is not a woman in comics. She is a WRITER [and/] or ARTIST in comics. She is not a woman in engineering. She is an ENGINEER in engineering.”

“Golden rule: if you wouldn’t ask The Rock a question that you’re about to ask a woman, don’t ask it at all.”

This really shouldn’t be necessary, but I’m very much afraid that it is.

ITEM! Our own Jodie Paterson’s latest collection of beautiful, organic, individualistic cards. Send your loved one something they’ve never seen!

ITEM! If Christmas shopping for cut-price prose, DVDs and CDs, please support Hive! Page 45 has its very own Hive page and makes money from every purchase there!

Hive pays its taxes!

Hive supports independent retailers!

You can pick up your purchases from Page 45 – or whichever your nominated local retailer is – and you won’t pay a penny for delivery!

ITEM! And if shopping for Christmas at Page 45, remember:

We love providing recommendations based on your loved ones’ interests!

You can just bring lists of books to the counter and we’ll find them for you!

Please tell that to whoever you give a list to: they’ll be so relieved!

– Stephen

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