Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews January 2017 week four

Featuring Philippa Rice; Ollie Masters & Tyler Jenkins; Jim Woodring; Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips, Bettie B; Jason Aaron & R. M. Guera and more!

News underneath! There’s someone fresh in the field of comics journalism and they are Exceptional!

Kill Or Be Killed vol 1 s/c (£8-99, Image) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser.

“See? Kill Or Be Killed coverThat’s what was going around in my head.
“An endless argument spin cycle.
“Point, counterpoint… all day long.”

In which the snow blows thicker and thicker.

To begin with it’s almost soft. It’s softer than a sidewalk from six storeys up, anyway.

It tumbles across the sprawling city as far as the eye can see, which is further than you might think; especially when you’re on one of its rooftops, so precariously close to the edge and determined to jump.

From below the thick flakes recede, smaller and smaller, into the heavens which glow a rich, luminous turquoise, while below all is neon-lit for danger.

By the final four pages of the first chapter it’s a veritable blizzard in blinding, icing-sugar white, with wild flashes of thought and explosions of violence like landmines detonated in your head. Then, when it’s settled, there’s a moment of clarity – for Dylan at least.

He’s not going to kill himself. He’s going to kill other people instead.

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From the Eisner-Award winning creators of CRIMINAL, FATALE and THE FADE OUT, the first six pages are a bludgeoning barrage of quite cathartic violence, all the more brutal to behold because Phillips has dispensed with the frames and the gutters to go full-bleed to the edge of each page. It’s more immediate. It’s more in-your-face, just like that shotgun, which is meticulously rendered and weighted.

Crucially, however, even if it’s more difficult to draw, then it’s as easy to read as ever, for the three-tier structure remains intact, the panels inset instead against an extended background. It’s something he carries right through the subsequent flashbacks and it pays off especially outside because the wider sense of space is phenomenal.

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Anyway, in case you’re reading this on the product page rather than the blog, here’s some of Dylan’s socio-political self-justification. It’s not why he’s blowing holes in these very bad people, but isn’t it kind of comforting to know that you’re making the world a better place than it currently is?

“Just look at the news for five fucking minutes and it’s obvious…
“Big business controls your government…
“Assholes go on shooting rampages almost daily…
“Terrorists blow up airports and train stations…
“Cops kill innocent black kids and get away with it…
“Psychopaths run for President…
“Oh, and the Middle East is one nuke away from turning us all to dust…
“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

What follows does not lead directly into the opening sequence – this is a long-form work, and Brubaker has a lot to explore in terms of psychology and practicalities before Dylan develops into a proficient and equanimous mass murderer – but it does go some way to explaining how Dylan, studying later in life than most at NYU, might eventually find himself a) with a shotgun b) using it.

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It begins with that attempt at suicide – not his first, either – and that began with a girl. It began with his best friend called Kira, one of the few people Dylan felt ever understood him. She got his sense of humour, his taste in music and his sense of isolation which had already set in before his flatmate Mason got between the two of them by dating.

“Their relationship ruined the one good thing I had.
“Kira still came to our place all the time, but almost never to hang out with me.
“And that made me feel even lonelier than I usually did.”

That sense of being cut off from Kira is emphasised by Phillips in a similar way to what Ware did at the window in JIMMY CORRIGAN: by distancing Dylan, isolated inside his own panel, from the rest of the couch where Kira and Mason sit closer together. Breitweiser bathes the lovers in light from the television set they’re watching, whereas Dylan remains shrouded in darkness. I can’t imagine anything much more uncomfortable.

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Oh wait, I can, because that’s what happens next. And eventually it leads to the rooftop.

Where that leads is even more startling, but I’m not about to spoil that for you now. All I will say is that Dylan’s head is far from healthy. He’s fallen far enough already, but he’s got a long way to go before picking up a gun and going if not postal then at least house-hunting.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of Brubaker’s many fortes is making you want to spend as much time as possible in his protagonists’ minds, no matter how disturbed. Here he does so in part through Dylan’s vulnerability and confessional, apologetic and self-searching tone. However confident in his newly acquired worldview Dylan seems on the first six pages – and I’d place money on that being a ‘good’ day – none of that is reflected in any red-bloodedly aggressive tendencies either earlier in life or even now.

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This is not a revenge story and Dylan’s acts are not an expression of angry contra mundum. They are instead acts of survival which require – and result in – all sorts of practicalities which Brubaker explores in depth.

One of those practicalities is avoiding any meaningful conversation with Kira even though their relationship grows increasingly complicated and Kira’s being honest with him. The guilt that he’s not reciprocating gnaws at Dylan, but he is fully aware that if he begins to offload in one way he’s likely to do so in others. Kira’s love and genuine, deep-rooted concern for him is the one thing he has left, and it’s almost certain to evaporate instantly if she learns he’s beginning to stalk and murder very bad men, whatever the crimes they’ve committed.

As well as his prowess as a weather and landscape artist – there are so many daylight cityscape shots of extraordinary detail which Breitweisser colours with a finger-numbing freeze – Phillips gets to show off his photo-realistic skills as Dylan sifts through the erotic fantasy stories his father illustrated, recalling his dad’s craft by conjuring one of those nudes in his mind’s eye. Wouldn’t you just know that she’d look one hell of a lot like Kira? And as he remembers perving over the magazines with his young friends, aged 6 or so, he realises who has behaved so horrifically as to merit being his first target.

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This begs further practicalities for a novice like Dylan, like finding a gun which won’t be traced. As to hunting down someone he only knew only tangentially many moons ago, well, that’s what Facebook’s for, right?

But then there’s the self-searching and doubt which I alluded to earlier.

“See, I kept having this sick feeling that I might have killed someone for no reason.
“Like, think about it for a second. There had to be some possibility that I hallucinated [REDACTED]. “Didn’t there? And if I did, if it wasn’t actually real, that meant my head was fucked, right?
“Which meant the way I remembered that day with Teddy could be wrong too… Right?”

Now, that’s all very specific to this particular story, but one of Brubaker’s interests lies in our universal, shared experiences and another of his skills is in making those connections and exploring their implications.

“I’ve read how memory works…
“I know we edit our memories so we look better in them.
“So what if I made up the whole thing?
“What if I was just like those assholes back in high school, pretending to have some secret link to the tragic dead kid?”

That would be Teddy.

“Except… Why would I make up a childhood story, especially one as sick as that, and never tell anyone about it?
“Who makes up a story and keeps it a secret?
“What is the point of that?”

Sorry to keep the quotations so cryptic, but you’ve got to be wondering what his memory was now… Right?

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We’ve got a long way to go before we get to page one.

For a masterclass in Brubaker getting readers to root for the least likely candidate, try CRIMINAL: LAST OF THE INNOCENT.

SLH

Buy Kill Or Be Killed vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Sister BFFs (£4-00, self-published) by Philippa Rice.

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“You’re tacky and boring and I roll my eyes at you so much my eyeball wires have gone curly.”

The disdain in those hooded eyes!

BFFs stands for Best Friends Forever – in polite circles, anyway. I like the way the plural is transposed in the acronym. I always assumed it hadn’t been, and that the first F was an expletive denoting either the extreme strength of the bond, withering sarcasm or our present-day, perpetually potty mouths.

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From the creator of SOPPY, WE’RE OUT, ST COLIN AND THE DRAGON, MY CARDBOARD LIFE and RECYCLOST, these snort-inducing comedy shorts star Philippa and her sister – who may or may not be fictional – in conversation snap-shots either in person or by text. Her sister does most of the talking, more often than not at Philippa’s expense. It’s partly the cartooning, which we’ll come to in a second, but also the hyperbole that’s so hilarious: the extreme and elaborate nature of the put-downs, especially in the cramped train carriage sketch conducted via cell phone. It’s beautifully orchestrated as a dip in the middle so that the tirade erupts almost out of nowhere before being deflected by a virtual non-sequitur from Philippa, after which the target of the ire / petulance is redirected once more towards her sister’s fellow travellers.

Anyway, the sister has just been squashed against a man whose coat “stinks of old smoke and rotting vegetables” and is clearly overdue for a weekend break at a dry cleaner’s. Philippa:

“I’d just spritz it with some deodorant.”
“That’s why you stink.”
“No.”
“You stink of boiled eggs.”
“No.”
“You stink of the egg smell that comes out when you open a packet of cooked chicken slices.”
“You do.”
“You bathe in egg-water and use mayo as a face mask and have boiled egg slices on your eyes.”
“Eggs are good for you.”

It put me in mind of Newman and Baddiel’s “That’s you, that is…” confrontations, except that they never made up as these two do, swiftly, in an alliance of outrage and revenge strategies.

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Rice is immediately recognisably from her autobiographical SOPPY self-portraits. Never one to shy away from self-mockery, there is a delicious panel in which she is shown enthusiastically diving, head-first and with zero dignity, into a bag of her sister’s clothing cast-offs, her rounded bum up in the air, short legs and tiny, white-socked toes waving wildly.

The two BFFs’ mouths – rubbery, flapping, yapping things, like hands in glove puppets – were either the inspiration for or inspired by Rice’s hand-crafted woollen animals who star in her ‘Soft Spot’ animations (http://philippajrice.com/animation/), composed with  SOPPY co-star and the creator of HILDA, Luke Pearson. That’s where I first learned that Philippa could be surprisingly and delightfully rude, and so it is here.

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It’s less Men Behaving Badly, more Children Behaving Competitively, and all the funnier for them being adults. Drawn and lettered in a childlike manner, obviously.

As with all our Philippa Rice books other than SOPPY, each copy is both signed and sketched in for free.

SLH

Buy Sister BFFs and read the Page 45 review here

Snow Blind s/c (£13-99, Boom!) by Ollie Masters & Tyler Jenkins.

Well, that’s a coolSnow Blind cover cover, isn’t it? Full of narrative, and once you’ve read what’s inside you’ll understand how well composed it is too. You’ll be seeing a little more of that Arctic Fox right at the beginning and right at the end of the first chapter.

The lovely, loose line art and wet-wash colours are both provided by Tyler Jenkins who leaves plenty of space for the white Arctic light to shine through. The style and palette’s identical on the inside, and there’s a tremendous sense of movement whether someone’s rising from a chair with their weight on the table, striding through a door without careful consideration as to who’s on the other side, smacking a tree trunk with bare fists in frustration / anger or, umm… look out — !

Thanks to those washes there’s a sodden, weighted-down feel to the coniferous pines even when they’re not laden with snow. Plus there’s a particularly fine shot, from behind knees, of a guard dog challenging an intruder with well developed calf muscles.

She or he isn’t the only intruder. Teenage Teddy Ruffins seems to make a habit of breaking and entering throughout.

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“After last time, my Dad asked me why I broke into a library of all places.
“I didn’t answer.
“I didn’t tell him that sometimes I feel like a stranger in my own home. That I felt more comfortable around the pages of dead authors than I do my own parents.”

That’s because those books are telling you things, Teddy. Your parents are – and have been all your life – a lot less communicative.

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They moved up from Louisiana to Alaska when Teddy was a baby. Teddy never thought to ask why, and they certainly never told him. This trait appears to have been absorbed because Teddy’s no communicator, either. He doesn’t get on with the local lads because he believes they don’t like him unless he bribes their company with a case of beer stolen from his Dad. He’s just done that at a BBQ his Dad’s throwing for friends.

“But as the alcohol took hold, I felt like I had something to prove. To them… and to my Dad. So when he got passed-out drunk, like he always did, I figured… If I have to be here, I might as well have some fun at his expense. I was finally being “one of the guys”.”

That’s what he overheard his Dad tell his Mom: that he wished Teddy would be “just one of the guys”.

So he paints his passed-out Dad with lipstick and paps a snap, sharing it on social media adding: “Dad’s definitely the prettiest girl at the party. Maybe he should run for Miss Louisiana next year?”

Far from surprisingly, Teddy’s Dad is furious. But it’s not because Teddy had mocked his masculinity specifically; it’s because he’s done it all over the internet, the worldwide web where anyone anywhere can see it. It’s not a pride thing, it’s a privacy thing. And I wouldn’t say it went viral but it went viral enough and now maybe it will become clearer to Teddy why they’re in Alaska and can never go home. Maybe it will become clearer to Teddy’s parents that you should always communicate, especially under circumstances like theirs, in the age of the internet.

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Bravo to writer Ollie Masters: there’s more breaking and entering yet zero increase in communication: leopards/spots, habits of a lifetime etc. Over and over again assumptions will be formed in absence of the truth being told, and this will have you screaming at everyone not just to have a word with themselves, but with each other.

By this I mean: Teddy has been lied to by his parents all his life. They don’t know that he knows that because since he found out he’s been lying to them. Finally he gives them the opportunity to tell him the truth and maybe they do and maybe they don’t. But Teddy’s going to presume that they’re still lying and continue to lie to them while he gets to the truth of the matter himself. The truth of a matter which he exposes by mistake and which he will now make a great deal worse.

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Partly because he’s jumped to one wrong conclusion after another, and is now about to jump to many more, tripping himself over, down the storytelling stairs.

Here he’s decided to track down the original intruder by asking around in a bad part of town.

“If he’d any sense he wouldn’t be laying low in the nice part of town… He’d be in the parts of town where being nosy gets it broken.”

Self-knowledge and self-guidance do not communicate with each other in young Teddy’s head.

This really is a complete and utter car crash. Every pun intended.

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Gripping.

SLH

Buy Snow Blind s/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Goddamned vol 1: The Flood (£8-99, Image) by Jason Aaron & R. M. Guera.

“I had a family once.Goddamned cover
“It didn’t work out.”

Well, this is all jolly European: the lines, the light, and the full-frontal nudity.

It’s male, by the way, and he’s blonde if that makes any difference to you.

It’s all very male here – hardly a woman in sight – perhaps reflecting the patriarchal nature of the Old Testament. Or maybe the women have all seen the brutal, bloody violence ahead and quite wisely eschewed an appearance in favour of something more sedate like a dog fight or a rugby match.

It’s all very western too, with a lone stranger wandering the wide-open landscapes – albeit muddy, faecal-flooded landscapes littered with carcasses being torn into by rabid wolves. He wandered into town last night, got set upon and sliced open by the Bone Boys. After lying face-down in excrement for hours, he seems much better this morning. Not a scar on his body. He’s going to mosey back into now, and there will be much “tohewen” and “toshrede”.

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It’s 1600 years after Eden and, my, how Man has fallen! Or been pushed.

Even according to the Bible, Man’s tenure on this planet didn’t get off to a particularly good start, but I reckon God’s punishment of Eve was a slight overreaction to the relatively mild malfeasance of scrumping. Just one generation later and our chief protagonist and narrator got a little angry and raised the delinquency bar considerably by inventing both murder and fratricide in the very same skull-splitting moment. Can you guess who it is yet?

“My brother was an asshole. The first two children born into the world and we couldn’t fucking stand each other. That alone ought to tell you how fucked we all are.”

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Since then our man / Methuselah with a mission to die has been cursing God for making him live in a Jim Foetus song:

“I’m watching my life swirl down the drain
And I feel about as Abel as Cain
But I guess that that’s the price of fame
When you’re destined to live in this Street Of Shame.”

Destined to live there forever, by the looks of things. Still, at least they’ve invented alcohol.

I love Cain’s moody, scowling drawl, like an embittered cowboy who’s seen too much to let anything impress or excite him anymore. It’s ever so far from Biblical and therefore instantly iconoclastic. I almost expected him to refer to Adam and Eve as “Mom and Pop”.

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Both appear briefly in a bright and radiantly colourful, foliage-festooned flashback which emphasises all the more how bleak, beleaguered and utterly hopeless life on planet Earth is since God’s great experiment decidedly “gan aglay”. There are no flowers, butterflies, clean, flowing, fresh-water rivers or indeed trees since Noah’s been charged with chopping them down for the very first invitation-only, global Cunard cruise.

Noah and his wandering disciples are no more Godly than the Reavers or Night Raiders, by the way. With fire and iron, they’re simply a lot more efficient in carrying out the ultimate executive order. But then if life had truly degenerated to the point where a woman had to announce even to her protector that “You can’t fuck me without a fight, if that’s what you’re thinking” before adding of her son, “The boy, either” then I’d certainly have flooded it too.

The art which you will never be able to unsee – it is highly accomplished and very beautiful but what it depicts is squalid in the extreme – is reminiscent of Brent Anderson’s on KA-ZAR with a Barry Windsor-Smith modelling. No jungles, except in that flashback, but many more cleaved skulls and gigantic dinosaurs guaranteed.

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When a lone splendid peacock shows up, its beak is dripping in freshly pecked blood.

From the creative team behind SCALPED. There wasn’t much hope there, either.

Cruelly, there is a brief glimmer here, for both Cain and two of those whom he encounters. Against all odds, which are firmly stacked against them.

I have no idea of where this series could conceivably go.

SLH

Buy The Goddamned vol 1: The Flood and read the Page 45 review here

Weathercraft h/c (£17-99, Fantagraphics) by Jim Woodring.

New editionWeathercraft new cover of the 2010 classic, this comes with crisp white paper, deckled edges (I adore deckled edges!) and a brand-new cover depicting the greedy, fearful, angry, bitter and normally naked, pronograde Manhog standing poised, upright, in a genteel dressing gown.

What has brought about this transformation and where will it lead?

Metamorphosis lies at the heart of most FRANK fables, usually through assimilation or straightforward ingestion and often catalysed by destruction. He’s a genuine visionary, Jim Woodring, and a master craftsman to boot.

Instead of crosshatching, his textures are formed from wavy lines, closer in effect to those created by a carved lino print. Almost everything in his landscapes is or could be alive, and rituals abound. I always call Woodring’s hypnotic fantasies  “mind-altering yet legal”. What you get out often depends on what you put in: what you bring to the table or even the mood you’re in at the time.

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For once the carelessly curious Frank takes a back seat, although of course he’s there to provide the inevitable helping hand at a key moment. Helping and meddling are two sides of the same coin to Frank; I often find it useful to glance at the expressions on the face of the furiously loyal Pupshaw – she’s usually quite dubious!

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Journeys too are important and here it’s the long-suffering but brutal, begrudging and really quite stupid Manhog who goes all bipedal on us and – a bit of a shocker, this – noble. Perhaps it’s a Frankenstein thing, for here Manhog allows himself to experience and even acknowledge moments of joy. How long will that last, do you think?

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Anyway, I’d better shut up now, for Woodring’s silent sagas are always best experience first-hand, untainted by other people’s input, like your favourite songs free from their promotional videos’ specificity.

This is why I find it vaguely odd that Woodring has actually written an introduction. Still: you’ll find insight.

SLH

Buy Weathercraft h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Scarlet Witch vol 2: World Of Witchcraft s/c (£14-50, Marvel) by James Robinson & Marguerite Sauvage, Annie Wu, Tula Lotay, Joelle Jones, Kei Zama.

Whither will she Wanda?

An unexpected pleasure, refreshingly far from the convoluted cacophony of the central Marvel Universe, I described SCARLET WITCH VOL 1 as geo-specific occult detective fiction.

Its closest comparison point was HELLBLAZER, albeit without its socio-political bite. I don’t know, though, it had something to say about old Spanish nunneries as victims of their patriarchal peers.

Wanda Maximoff journeyed from New York to Ireland and Greece etc partly to atone for her pasts misdemeanours* by helping those in magic-mired distress and partly in search of answers as to why Witchcraft is broken. Its artists were carefully chosen for those exotic locations and each brought something brilliant to the proceedings. Marco Rudy, for example, whose Greece-bound episode featured the Minotaur, deployed panel constructions like those of a maze. Neat!

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Many are on top form again. Tula Lotay’s Central Park of a Thursday, with its spectral, skeletal trees, is a beautiful thing to behold, emphasising the wide-open wonder of its wintery blue sky by being seen from waist-level. One panel prior to that she concludes Wanda’s latest, intense therapy session with the avuncular Doctor Grand with a subtle deployment of slightly sickly and sweaty tangerine as his stare burrows deep into yours / Wanda’s. This uncomfortable claustrophobia signalled a certain something which made me smile and makes the relief of that chilly outdoors all the more palpable.

Marguerite Sauvage also colours her own pages and, if you remember, I said that one of the key strengths of this series – one which set it apart – was that it was geo-specific. Her very first page (and those that follow) leaps out at you with its complete comprehension of that essential quality.

“Paris is a city of many ghosts… and all I need is one of them.”

Paris – as the cliché goes – is also a city of romance. And I subscribe to that cliché. I’ve spent even more time lolling about its tree-lined avenues with a smile on my face and striding down its inviting vistas than I have meandering around Venice’s serpentine canals with their sequestered secrets waiting to be discovered around the next corner. I find both exceptionally romantic.

It is a romance which James Robinson gives us, and Sauvage delivers on every front too. Her forms are feminine, sensual and vulnerable – including the beau’s – as are her frames with their rounded corners and final-page flourish. But on the first page she sets the scene to perfection with its soft, white-lined, pink and purple clouds billowing up above the rooftops of a Paris shrouded in a thin, horizontal cocoon of mist broken chiefly by the Eiffel Tower on the horizon.

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So whither will she wander?

I’m ever so sorry, but I’m afraid this has strayed off course.

Perhaps to appease long-term Marvel Comics readers, Robinson has seen fit (or been editorially instructed) to attempt to marry this new, strident direction which could appeal to any new readers to Wanda’s constipated, contradictory past history which Brian Michael Bendis – against all odds – managed to make perfect sense of briefly, brilliantly, but only once.*

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On top of which Marvel Central intrudes with a whole chapter’s reference to its second Civil War which <yawn>”.

The ever so elegant covers by Aja are included.

* See NEW AVENGERS BY BENDIS COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 1. For the first volume you really didn’t have to and that was part of its joy. For this second book, I’m afraid you do.

SLH

Buy Scarlet Witch vol 2: World Of Witchcraft s/c 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.

Black Monday Murders vol 1: All Hail God Mammon s/c (£17-99, Image) by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker

Goodnight Punpun vol 4 (£16-99, Viz) by Inio Asano

Harrow County vol 4: Family Tree s/c (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook

House Of Penance s/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Peter Tomasi & Ian Bertram

Love vol 4: The Dinosaur h/c (£15-99, Magnetic Press) by Frederic Brremaud & Federico Bertolucci

Stumptown vol 4 h/c (£26-99, Oni) by Greg Rucka & Justin Greenwood

Thief Of Thieves vol 6: Gold Rush (£13-99, Image) by Andy Diggle & Shawn Martinbrough

Complete Scarlet Traces vol 1 s/c (£15-99, Rebellion) by Ian Edginton & D’Israeli

Aliens: Defiance vol 1 s/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Brian Wood & Tristan Jones, Massimo Carnevale

Avatar, The Last Airbender vol 14: North And South Part 2 (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Gene Luen Yang, various & Gurihiru

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor vol 5: The Twist (UK Edition) s/c (£13-99, Titan) by George Mann & various

Green Lanterns vol 1: Rage Planet s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Sam Humphries & Rocha Robson

Nightwing vol 1: Better Than Batman s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Tim Seeley & Javier Fernandez

Starfire vol 2: A Matter Of Time s/c (£13-99, DC) by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti & Emanuela Lupacchino, various, Amanda Conner

Black Panther: Doom War s/c (£31-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Maberry, Reginald Hudlin & Will Conrad, Ken Lashley, Scott Eaton, Gianluca Gugliotta

New Avengers by Bendis Complete Collection vol 2 s/c (£35-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & various

Berserk vol 2 (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Kentaro Miura

Berserk vol 3 (£13-99, Dark Horse) by Kentaro Miura

News

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ITEM! A phenomenal read!

The first issue of Steff Humm’s Nottingham-based INK magazine of comics journalism is out, online for free!

Humm’s analysis is far more informed, in-depth and relevantly, socially contextualised than anything I write. I couldn’t believe the erudite ways it managed to link the President Campaign-orientated CITIZEN JACK with the Iran-based autobiographical PERSEPOLIS, but they made perfect sense. In fact, I’m ordering CITIZEN JACK for the shelves on the basis of that review, and I’m not even going to attempt one of my own for fear of any shame-making comparisons.

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Humm also reviews new aspects of Rob Davis’ THE CAN OPENER’S DAUGHTER while Josh Franks interviews Simone Lia and Stephen Collins about their weekly cartoons in the Guardian and Observer, respectively, and the different ways they approach their craft in graphic novels FLUFFY and THE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL (also respectively and both reviewed by us). Please pop ‘em into our search engine for more.

You can follow INK on Twitter @Ink_Mag_UK and hit the top-left button after clicking on the link above in order to subscribe to future editions FOR FREE!

Simone and Hannah Signing

Simone Lia & Hannah Berry signing at Page 45

ITEM! Wonderful Independent article celebrating THE PHOENIX COMIC’s 5th Anniversary, a thrilling weekly comic which flies in the face of the lamentable kids’ magazines which sell themselves on the cheap plastic tat attached.

Just remember as you read this that although weekly kids’ comics publication has declined over the last 20 years, since then there have been hundreds and hundreds of graphic novels published in their place and now on sale at Page 45 including THE PHOENIX COMICS COLLECTED EDITIONS which have their own section on the Page 45 Comics & Graphic Novel Website and about which we are so passionate that they are almost ALL reviewed by us!

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– Stephen

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