Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews June 2016 week four

New Lisa Hanawalt, finale to Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising, Alexis Deacon’s Geis, Jamie Smart’s Bunny Vs Monkey 3, Sandman Mystery Theatre and Return Of The Dark Knight: Last Crusade with News underneath.

Geis: A Matter of Life and Death (£15-99, Nobrow) by Alexis Deacon.

“Don’t you understand? I have no choice.”

I understand perfectly; you always have a choice.

Whenever I’ve heard “I have no choice” it’s meant, “I don’t fancy the other options I’ve so far considered, so I’m completely abnegating responsibility for what I’m about to do.” Please file with “I’m just following orders”.

Admittedly on the surface the fifty souls sent on a mission here appear to have had their options substantially limited but not curtailed, for where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Before we begin, this is brilliant. Its beauty we’ll come to anon, but I want you to know from the start that this is enthralling and truly startling in places, with curses far more cunning in their detail and execution than you might initially suspect. Underneath the spot-varnish cover we are forewarned thus:

“Geis, pronounced gesh, is a Gaelic word for a taboo or curse. When a geis is placed upon you, it is like a spell that cannot be broken and certain rules must be obeyed. You might be prohibited from calling upon the aid of wolves, for example, or from breaking into someone’s kitchen. If you ignore or break a geis, the consequences are dire.
“But a geis is always broken.
“As soon as it is spoken or written, your fate is set.”

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The matriarch Matarka is dead.

She lies in state in her ceremonial robes on a bed in the centre of a cloister’s courtyard. Around her sit fifty citizens, most of whom seem downright grumpy that they’ve been woken from their beds. The great chief Matarka named no heir but instead proclaimed that there would be contest to select her successor.

“The rich, the strong, the wise, the powerful, many gave their names in the hope of being chosen.
“But when the night came fifty souls were summoned.”

An agreement is being sent round to be signed and a brief squabble breaks out over power, but it’s silenced by the gurgling of Matarka before an ectoplasmic apparition issues from her mouth to settle in a vessel, a body of an old woman sat slouched at the foot of the bed.

“I am Niope, the sorceress. Prepare yourselves for I have come to test you.
“A good chief should know the land. All the land. Like seed on the wind I scatter you.
“Find your way back to me before the light of the next dawn touches the castle door… or no chief will you be!”

That’s it: that’s all they are told before being conjured into the air and summarily dispatched.

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It’s possible that she may have omitted one or two salient items of interest, as at least a couple of the contestants will later find out. The others will remain oblivious to the consequences but I’ve chosen what I’ve written and quoted here carefully, for it’s not just God who’s in the details.

As we focus on a dozen or so individuals attempting to master their environment to make their way back after being dumped in a cave, between columns of rocks, in a wood and by quicksand or being thrust through a kitchen window, some prove more resourceful than others while others have certain skills which may afford them some desperately needed insight. We also discover that the Kite Lord’s daughter never entered her name into the contest, but when she attempts to withdraw, she discovers she can’t. None of them are going to be able to walk away and return to the lives they once knew, and it becomes increasingly clear that these challenges will be tests not just of capability, but of character too.

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That’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg – with carefully concealed depths – for this is the first in a trilogy in which you will begin to glean the differences between Life Magic and Death Magic and their tightly knit relationship, just as it is with Life and Death itself.

There are some spectacular skies on offer at all times of the morning, noon and night. Not least of these is the early shepherd’s warning behind the monumental composite of a castle whose cloisters we first looked down upon. An unfeasibly large, fantastical and positively Tolkien-esque fortress surrounded by minarets sits atop the base of an already gigantic, heavens-headed gothic cathedral, its architectural details bathed in brown shadow as the dawn behind it ignites in flaming reds, oranges, yellows and purples while the cold, spectral-blue shades of the challengers are whisked round and around then away.

A little later we’ll catch another glimpse of this citadel from further afield, surrounded by substantial Tudor terraced houses and mansions whose warped walls will loom over a protagonist or two as improvisations are attempted. There the softer, sandy colours are dry-brushed against bright white clouds which themselves drift idly across the vastness of a pale green sky.

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Then there are midnight flourishes during an unusually direct confrontation between two of the protagonists lest one learn the secrets of the other then disseminate that knowledge. A freezing, miasmatic mist rises like a monochromatic (but little less spectacular) version of the Aurora Borealis partially occluding a star-strewn, nocturnal heaven.

Atmosphere is all, and you won’t find it any less thrilling in a lamp-lit library as ancient Osha attempts to furnish the Kite Lord’s daughter with knowledge only to find that time has taken its toll and knowledge must be carefully kept alive and preserved… lest it be eaten away.

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School library folks, this is equally fine for your teens or early teens section. It’s going to be another of those graphic novels snapped up by all ages for its wide-eyes wonder and harsh revelations.


Buy Geis: A Matter of Life and Death and read the Page 45 review here

Hot Dog Taste Test h/c (£16-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Lisa Hanawalt.

In Conclusion:

“Sprouts are fool’s noodles.
“Don’t trust smooth food.
“I have a hunch about croissants.
“Don’t eat your own eggs.”

Good call! It may seem like recycling – or something equally admirable, ecology-wise – but it probably breaks several HFEA guidelines or mandatory laws. Laws appear to be quite mandatory at the time of typing.

Every other non-mandatory law, rule or regulation of Food or Ablutionary Etiquette has been loudly breached in this ridiculous book and we soundly and roundly applaud! Hooray for throwing caution to the wind, kicking common sense to the curb and good taste into the gutters of genuine good will instead.

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Hanawalt has all the good will in the world and here seeks to disseminate that and her recondite knowledge like our very own, much-loved Professor Lizz Lunney, with true scientific and in-depth analysis as when sacrificing her own personal pleasure to make a thorough investigation of New York’s high-sugar, fat-saturated fast-food street vendors solely for her readers’ edification and long-term biological benefit.

I cannot begin to tell you how funny it is, and that’s my main problem. Hanawalt sets up her jokes so well in advance with relatively po-faced matter-of-factism or equally dead-pan facetiousness that it would take me paragraphs to quote. Plus I no longer have the faintest idea which elements of her exclusive behind-the-scenes, hourly diary, day-in-the-life reportage of Wylie Dufresne’s Lower East Side Restaurant’s operations are true, True, “true” or mere off-the-cuff whimsy.

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All I can do is warn you well in advance not to read this while handling heavy machinery because it’s is a convulsive-laugher liability:

La la laaaa…. (reading with interest)

La la laaaaaaaa… (white wine now spuming like a whale’s exhalation through my nose)

There are Q&As, top tips and food-photography terminology neologisms. If I’ve included that in the interior art here it’s worth clicking on to blow up.

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Lisa does like to travel and has much to impart, like Katriona Chapman’s thrillingly informative KATZINES, These bits I’m more inclined to trust for basic veracity, but my metaphorical pinch of salt has been safely stuffed away into my mental hand-luggage just in case.

When visiting an animal sanctuary, Hanawalt manages to pet a pet sloth, who may or may not mind this attention – who is to tell unless you wait five years and three months for its physical reaction?

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Then she swims with miniature otters which “have been bottle-fed and hand-raised. That means we’ll get to touch the heck out of ‘em!” Their synchronised squeaking gives her an all-time heavenly high which she may never be able equal. I’d like to be covered in wet, furry otters forever, please. They can nibble at my neck as much as they want. I will buy them ice cream and spiders.

But basically, this: Hanawalt appears to be permanently hungry and without any sense of self-control. I infer that her trip to Las Vegas with attendant boyf was paid for either by Lucky Peach Magazine or by the Cosmopolitan Hotel wherein she discovers Total Buffet Abandon (officially endorsed medical syndrome as of this review). Whilst suffering from Total Buffet Abandon you can do any goddamn thing you want. You can pile your plate high with everything on offer, mix ridiculously incongruous, mouth-destined dainties or expect a chef to serve them all up in an omelette and no one will complain. Not even Cosmopolitan’s PR manager Ranata for whom gluttony is either par for the course or a word long-eradicated from her dictionary.

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“Look, I wish I could say we went insane and blew hundreds of dollars and then earned it all back! But in reality we bet low, made modest winnings, and basically broke even. Eating is the only thing I like to do to excess. I choose to gamble with my guts!”

What goes in must come out, and no restaurant meal would be complete without a trip to the toilet. Some are so squeamish about public restrooms that they line the toilet seat with toilet paper. Lisa suggests twigs instead, which you can gather, arrange and then nest on. It’s a subject she returns to, including her fear of being caught nesting. I really cannot show you that page. She also imagines travelling through time to see how they did it in the olden days or what spectacles lie in store for us in the future.

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Best of all are her stabs at new slogans for multinational corporations’ advertising campaigns, like Nike’s “Just Do It”:

“Just fucking goddamned do it and be fucking done with it already”

I can’t quote the next line, crossed out, but it had me howling.

We perversely began at the end with this review, just as we purposefully conclude it with a reference to its origin because I can no longer discern rhyme from reason, a sheep from a cow, or what’s coming out of my brain.

That’s now been clinically diagnosed as The Lisa Hanawalt Effect.

It’s as if she turns the world upside down, gives it a damn good shake and sees what falls out.


Buy Hot Dog Taste Test h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Rachel Rising vol 7: Dust To Dust (£12-99, Abstract Studio) by Terry Moore.

“Today I’m going to do something terrible to another human being – I’m going to give back the darkness he gave to me.
“It’s not mine to carry.
“It never was.
“The balance is non-negotiable.”

So ends RACHEL RISING, very much as it began.

With a great many shivers, for a start.

It began early one morning in a sequestered glade, with a woman waiting above a dried-up river bed… Until a leaf spontaneous combusts, and our Rachel claws herself slowly, and painfully, from her grave… then stumbles her way back home.

I can promise you two things: Rachel’s no zombie; she’s wide awake and very much aware of everything and everyone around her. But she definitely died.

She just doesn’t know who killed her yet.

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Now, in the final chapter of this finale volume, we’re about to find out.

From the creator of STRANGERS IN PARADISE and ECHO, this has been another tour de force combing comedy and tragedy, mercy and mischief, fury and all the foibles that make human beings the flawed individuals we are. It’s the humanity I love in a Terry Moore comic.

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I adore Rachel’s Aunt Johnny, the mortician who is resolute and unflustered even when out of her depth. And if I care for anyone above all here it is her assistant Earl whose eyes you never see when hidden behind glasses, but who nonetheless wears his great big heart on his equally gargantuan sleeve and doesn’t have a duplicitous or disloyal bone in his body.

This isn’t misdirection. I do that – a lot. But this isn’t it. I don’t think Terry has created a kinder character: the ultimate gentle giant.

I might even have started to love Lilith.

“Wow, Lilith… I never pictured you as a gardener.”
“Really? I was the first.”

Oh, but Mr Moore has a way with deft dialogue.

“You should have more respect for human life.”
“I would if they would.”

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He drops it onto page after page where so many other authors would simply be concentrating on plot mechanics.

The plot mechanics of this resolution are so fiendishly clever, their foundations laid in images whose meanings will only become clear later on. I’d watch what’s pictured, picked up and pocketed very carefully indeed. I love it when comicbook creators don’t necessarily tell you what you want to know, but show you what you need to know instead. This is, after all, a visual medium.

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There’s more nature than ever in RACHEL RISING, both flora and fauna, in open snow-swept landscapes and dense woodland populated by deer and dogs and ever so many crows. Life and death are central to its premise, the natural cycle all too unnaturally broken by Lilith and Rachel and – of course – in a different way, by the man who’s been slaughtering women then burying them, face down with a rope around their necks in shallow graves.

Aunt Johnny thinks she’s finally found a lead: three bodies in the last 18 months, discovered by farmers or utility crews. Forensics may tell them something, but Aunt Johnny knows a shortcut because Rachel’s been able to experience the final moments before death both of living souls and/or their corpses.

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A child, for example, has just been brought into the mortuary after being run over in a hit and run incident. Rachel reaches in.

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It was a busy school mom driving an SUV. On her mobile phone.

But Rachel can’t make contact with the skeletal remains of the one remaining woman. Perhaps it was the passing of too much time or the lack of soft organic tissue. If only to answer that question, Aunt Johnny casually suggests that Rachel try the remains of a recently dredged up floater. There’s plenty of organic tissue there. In fact, there’s barely anything solid.

And if you’re wincing right now, just wait for the recoil.

Almost everyone plays a key role here including young Zoe, who’s neither young nor Zoe. (You’d better see previous, equally spoiler-free reviews.) And I like that. It doesn’t do to build up your characters then give only the lead a satisfying resolution.

The build-up is so gradual and so measured that when the punches stop being pulled without warning they will smack you full in the face, dislocating your jaw.

And all the while Ma Malai, the Angel of Death, circles slowly and silently in wait…

For anyone.


Buy Rachel Rising vol 7: Dust To Dust and read the Page 45 review here

Bunny vs. Monkey Book Three (£7-99, David Fickling Books) by Jamie Smart.

“Hey, Pig! We hear you have an imaginary friend!”
“Lionel, yes.”
“Ha ha. Lionel. If I had an imaginary friend I’d call him… MONSTERTRUCKOTRON 4!”
“Why 4?”
“The previous 3 fought each other to the death!”

Of course they did. Can someone please cut off Skunky’s electricity supply? I don’t even know where he gets it from. It’s time to begin the review-proper.

Oh my days, would you look at these colours! Could they get any juicier? If you want your young ones to devour their comics – to gorge on reading – then this will appeal to their sugar-free frothy fruit cravings. I am salivating!

I demand that the PHOENIX COMIC WEEKLY immediately launches a range of ice lollies. As MEGA ROBO BROS’ Neill Cameron suggested, they could be sellotaped to the front of each paper issue. What could possibly go wrong with that? On this cover alone we have cherry, blueberry and black currant, fizzy lemon, orange and asparagus flavours. Maybe with a cabbage-cream filling. Yum!

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Meanwhile, this is bananas, and the colouring inside is equally lush. The skies on a winter’s morning or early evening are a radiant yellow-below-blue behind purple mountains or peach-beneath-blue against bright white and blue-shadowed snow. It’s beautiful to behold.

But I promised you bananas and it lies in the bombast. Squeals, shrieks and screams fill the forest as Bunny, Weenie and Pig are terrorised by monomaniacal Monkey and too-clever-for-his-own-good Skunky or – in the case of Weenie and Pig – each other. Weenie and Pig are a couple of clots who once played Pass The Brain Cell between them and fumbled it.

The very first strip, ‘Log Off’, has them hiding behind masks. “From what?” asks Bunny.

“Well, I’m hiding from Pig because he’s wearing a scary mask!”
“And I’m hiding from Weenie because he’s wearing a scary mask too!”

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So often it’s a question here of be careful what you ask lest you lose your marbles under a blanket of bafflement, but also: Touch Nothing! This is both, especially true of Action Beaver who is a coiled spring, a self-primed time-bomb waiting to go off with glee. What makes this particular two-pager pure Jamie Smart, however, is that central catastrophe has been carefully sandwiched between Weenie and Pig for a knock-out, domino-effect, double punchline.

Value for money – that’s what I’m saying.

You can read my two previous reviews of the series by hopping over to our PHOENIX GRAPHIC NOVELS emporium in the Younger Readers section. Towards the end of the second volume, Smart started to lay the foundations of a subplot which here begins bearing fruit. Up until then we’d been spending time in this potentially idyllic woodland surrounded only by animals. But the prospect of humans encroaching on their not-so-tranquil repose with roads between cities is forewarned by Le Fox and now they’re all beginning to be spotted.

I think I just sent a shiver up my own spine.

Don’t worry, Pig and Weenie will put paid to that.

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It’s the energy and the expressions which propel these comics. There are teeth, teeth everywhere.

I note of page 34 that some seven-year-old is going to learn the term “synthesise”. I hope they’re more responsible with it than Skunky.


Buy Bunny vs. Monkey Book Three and read the Page 45 review here

Sandman Mystery Theatre Book 1 (£22-50, Vertigo) by Matt Wagner & Guy Davis, John Watkiss, R.G. Taylor.

Jonathan and I both adored this series, a troubling period piece for a very troubled period leading inexorably to war. This isn’t about that war – though it does increasingly cast its pall as time marches on – nor should it be confused with the fantasy of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN, although there is a link.

Instead it’s crime fiction populated by remote or cruel parents, brutal, often sexual sadists, their helpless victims and broken progeny, all in a dark, pre-war, post-Prohibition America.

Rarely outside of FROM HELL has a comic been so successfully steeped in and anchored to its era. Guy Davis’ slightly flabby faces, drab clothing, gritty textures and impenetrable night are as accomplished as Campbell’s were for Moore’s Victorian graphic novel and Wagner (with later help from Steven T. Seagle) served up mystery after mystery which the reader could actively engage in solving before the main protagonists.

Wesley Dodds is the apparently dry and studious heir to a now deceased businessman, perfectly at home with judges and lawyers. But all is not as it seems, for Wesley’s sleep is troubled by enigmatic nightmares which compel him to rise and follow their elusive leads.

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Far across town Dian Belmont is both a romantic and a deep thinker, something rare in her socialite circle. Fiercely independent, she also has a strong will and a reckless streak which her doting District Attorney father does his kindly but inadequate best to curb. As the first story opens Dian’s life is one of gossip, privilege and parties, but she’s in for a rude awakening – and about to meet the man of her dreams.

This point in the review is as good a time as any time remind readers that Vertigo is repacking its series into thicker editions they call Books as opposed to Volumes which are their slimmer predecessors. As well as ‘The Tarantula’, then, this includes ‘The Face’ and ‘The Brute’. It was a brief and quickly corrected mistake to let artists other than Guy Davis in, for the second story arc set in Chinatown put a lot of people off – including myself, almost. A huge shame, because virtually everything that followed, including the third four-parter included here, proved gripping.

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Wagner continues to explore the realities of economic hardship, prejudices and dark family secrets. There’s a particularly upsetting sequence involving the sickly young daughter of a professional fighter.  Dian and Wesley’s compassion always provides a stark contrast to the seediness of what they encounter, and it’s their burgeoning romance which creates the momentum that propels the series ever onwards.

Its begins thus in a dream:

“First there is the woman, soft but indistinct. Like words written in darkness or the smell of a ripening peach.
“For soon she is eclipsed… by him.
“The man in black.”

You may recognise the helm, for it belongs to Morpheus.

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Infer what you will, but in all honesty…?  They will not cross paths until much later on in ‘Sandman Midnight Theatre’ found within Gaiman’s MIDNIGHT DAYS. Although The Corinthian will form a clue in a future edition of this series.


Buy Sandman Mystery Theatre Book 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade one-shot (£4-99, DC) by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello & John Romita Jr.

“Wolves, sheep… What’s the difference?
“It’s the numbers that count.
“One, two, use your shoe.
“Three, four, bar the door.
“Five, six, teach them tricks.
“Seven, hate…
“My favourite number. Turn it on its side and it’s infinite.
“I learned that from a cartoon.”

Deliciously drawn by John Romita Jr, the sequence was perfectly timed as the ticking time bomb that is the Joker detonates his quietly contrived trap and makes his inevitable, unopposed exit through the least secure doors of any Maximum Security Mental Health Hospital in human history.

Arkham Asylum: containment costs little when they cannot contain you.

It’s financially inexpensive, anyway – unlike a new obsession spreading like a virus through Gotham’s wealthiest businessmen. They seem to be losing not just their money but their minds. One’s committed suicide after his bank account’s bled dry. Another’s taken his wife hostage on a bridge at night, holding a gun to her head.

“I need to prove to her that I love her.”
“By shooting her in the head?”
“Yes! I love her. I’ll prove it!”

His finger itches on the trigger.

“To an untrained eyes, it’s imperceptible. The slight twitch of the second knuckle.”

But Robin has been exceptionally well trained, all but taking man’s arm off at the elbow with a razor-sharp batarang.

“Robin – you could have just knocked the gun out of his hand.”
“I suppose.”

Yes, Robin has been exceptionally well trained, but there’s not a great deal of empathy there and he’s growing increasingly sullen, increasingly resentful and increasingly violent. It’s Jason Todd, the second Robin, by the way.

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There’s more to that scene than meets the eye, and it forms the main mystery of this one-shot while the meat on the bone comes in the form of a Joker as vicious and eloquent as he became in Miller’s BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and Bruce Wayne as bludgeoned and exhausted as well. His retirement – if not on Bruce’s mind – is certainly at the forefront of his friends’.

Those are the only connections I can discern to BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN other than Miller’s involvement, his use of inappropriately flippant or vapid media commentary from televisual dunderheads and Romita’s mimicry of its presentation with rounded, square sets. Perhaps the pallor of the colours, although there was a lot more white space in DKI.

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No, the main thrust of the story is forward through time and straight into the ever so welcoming arms of the green-haired grinning-one in another Batman classic in which a similar surliness and determination to prove himself won Jason a decidedly shorter career than he’d hoped.

This, then, is a parallel prequel to BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY.

If you don’t know what happens there, please don’t click on the link; but it’s nigh-universal knowledge to anyone who’d be buying a Bat book and does afford this comic its dramatic irony.

Fabulous final page from Romita and the writers, juxtaposing extreme, silent violence on either side of a singular detachment – both voiced and visualised – and the reprise of a refrain which, when finished, gives it a fierce zoological bite.

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Buy Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade one-shot 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.

Bear Canyon (Signed & Sketched In) (£4-50) by Dan Berry

Sent/Not Sent (Signed & Sketched In) (£3-50) by Dan Berry

Three Room’s In Valerie’s Head (Signed & Sketched In) (£8-00) by David Gaffney & Dan Berry

For The Love Of God, Marie! (£16-99, Myriad) by Jade Sarson

I.D. (£7-50, Image) by Emma Rios

Indeh- A Story of the Apache Wars (Signed Edition) h/c (£18-99, Grand Central) by Ethan Hawke & Greg Ruth

Screaming Planet s/c (£14-99, Humanoids) by Alejandro Jodorowsky & various including J.H. Williams III, Jerome Opena, Adi Granov

Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart h/c (£22-50, Humanoids) by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius

Manifest Destiny vol 1: Flora & Fauna s/c (£7-50, Image) by Chris Dingess & Matthew Roberts

Invisible Republic vol 1 s/c (£7-50, Image) by Gabriel Hardman, Corrina Bechko

Midnight Days – The Deluxe Edition h/c (£18-99, Vertigo) by Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner & Teddy Kristiansen, Dave McKean, Mike Mignola, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, Richard Piers Rayner, Mike Hoffman, Kim DeMulder, Sergio Aragones

Mythic vol 1 s/c (£12-99, Image) by Phil Hester & John Mccrea

Northlanders Book 1: The Anglo-Saxon Saga (£22-50, Vertigo) by Brian Wood & Marian Churchland, Ryan Kelly, Dean Ormston, Daniel Zezelj, Davide Gianfelice

18 Days vol 2: Heroes And Legends s/c (£10-99, Graphic India) by Grant Morrison, various & various

Assassin’s Creed vol 1: Trial By Fire s/c (£10-99, Titan) by Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery & Neil Edwards

James Bond vol 1: Vargr h/c (£14-99, Dynamite) by Warren Ellis & Jason Masters

Judge Dredd: Titan (£16-99, Rebellion) by Rob Williams & Henry Flint

Harley Quinn vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab s/c (£12-99, DC) by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palimotti & various

Carnage Classic s/c (£25-99, Marvel) by various

Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet s/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan & various

Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur vol 1: BFF s/c (£13-50, Marvel) by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare & Natacha Bustos

NYX: Complete Collection s/c (£25-99, Marvel) by Joe Quesada, Marjorie M. Liu & Joshua Middleton, Robert Teranishi, Sara Pichelli, Kalman Andrasofszky

Yotsuba&! vol 13 (£7-99, Yen) by Kiyohiko Azuma



ITEM! FREE! Page 45 will be in conversation at the Lowdham Book Festival this Saturday 25th June for ‘The Literary Art Of Cracking Comics’ with Sally Jane Thompson and Matt Green.. 3-30pm to 4-30pm at the WI Hall, Main Street.

It should be our Jonathan, but it could also be me. We exist in a state of flux!

Which can be exciting.

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Page 45 presents: Independent & Self-Publishing Century!

Yes, for over 21 years now Page 45 has extolled the virtues of independent publishing, self-publishing and promoted the best-selling comics and graphic novels that this fecund force has produced on a daily basis.

That’s 7,847 days so far!

In this not-new initiative Page 45 has made so many of these glorious story-telling triumphs not-so-small-sellers thus:

1) They are stacked next to our till!

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2) We have forced them into our window, bound and gagged, against their will!

3) They are racked right round our counter – Page 45’s prime selling spot – in a reckless display of warped priorities. Comics by Lizz Lunney, Philippa Rice et al. It is an outrage and I am disgusted!

Lizz Lunney Emporium

4) To redress this atrocity we have thrown John Allison off our counter and into a comicbook column of his own directly facing unsuspecting strangers as they waltz blithely through our doors. It is a veritable gulag or ghetto.

5) We have them Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month because so many of those creators, oblivious to their insignificance, are the best in the business.

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In 2015 alone Page 45’s two best-selling comics were self-published: John Allison’s EXPECTING TO FLY #1 and EXPECTING TO FLY #2 beating Marvel’s SECRET WARS issues by furlongs, fathoms and miles.

In 2015 alone Page 45’s best-selling graphic novel was Ben Read & Chris Wildgoose’s PORCELAIN: BONE CHINA published by Improper Books, run out of a farmhouse (I kid you not) by Ben Read himself and MULP’s Matt Gibbs.

PORCELAIN: BONE CHINA outsold the NYT best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s exceptional  SANDMAN: OVERTURE illustrated by comicbook legend JH Williams III even though it was published by DC which is owned by Time Warner. You may have heard of them.

Porcelain Bone China bookplates

But wait!

Now, as part of Page 45’s token effort to promote quality and diversity regardless of its publishing status, we promise this: we will continue this endeavour every single day for the next 79 years!

We call this…. Page 45’s Independent & Self-Publishing Century!

Self-Publishing Century

Only one century, mind.

When the clock runs out on October 17th 2094, Page 45 will jettison this quaint campaign of self-defeating, fiscal insanity which has netted us so much more money than could be dreamed of by insular, unadventurous and corporate-compliant comic shops and we will….

Inevitably cease to exist.

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ITEM! Luke Pearson’s glorious all-ages HILDA graphic novels are to be made into an animated Netflix series! New Yorker interview with that Luke Pearson.

You can swoon over all of Luke Pearson’s HILDA graphic novels reviewed by Page 45 here!

HILDA AND THE STONE FOREST is due out on September 1st.

Hilda And The Stone Forest cover

ITEM! The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival 2016 (October 14-16 in Kendal) announces more comicbook creator guests!

In addition to the likes of Bryan Lee O’Malley and Mick McMahon, the new list includes Duncan Fegredo, Leah Moore, John Reppion, Ilya, Rufus Dayglo…

… And a Charlie Adlard vs. Dan Berry smackdown!

Adlard versus Berry smackdown

Page 45 will be there, as always, in our very own Georgian Room up the stairs / lift in the Kendal Clock Tower. Entrance is FREE!

Website: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival

1 Lakes Fest Clock Tower

– Stephen

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