Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews January 2017 week one

Featuring lots of lovely folk who firmly believe that Love Is Love.

Brigada vol 1 h/c (£17-99, Magnetic Press) by Enrique Fernandez.

“Is this how we’re going to die, Father?”
“No. This is how we’re going to live.”

Epic, full-on fantasy of the ilk which prominently features vast, twisted tree trunks, fortified towns, remote, lofty citadels, very big beasties, dark elves, disgruntled, beardy, armour-wearing dwarves wielding mighty stone mallets, magic, lost legends, misunderstood lore and a great deal of back-stabbing.

Enrique Fernandez is an artist’s artist whose vividly coloured art minded me in places of Kyle Baker once he’d discovered computers. Jostling with each other to sing his praises are STRAY TOASTERS and DAREDEVIL END OF DAYS’ Bill Sienkiewicz, PROMETHEA and SANDMAN: OVERTURE’s J.H. Williams III, and FELL’s Ben Templesmith.


The dwarves are squat, stocky fellows and with enormous eyes and even more enormous, plumed eyebrows flowering from under their helmets. They’re disgruntled because they are lost and leaderless until Captain Ivro grudgingly agrees to shoulder their command. He does so grudgingly because they’re a bunch of ill-disciplined convicts. They’re lost – like the taller, Oeming-like elves – because on entering battle one morn, they stepped into The Mist and were transported into a patchwork land divided by that Mist through which travel is completely unpredictable: you could end up anywhere.


At the heart of The Mist is said to lurk The Voiradeer, an entity of enormous destructive power, though no one has ever seen it. All they’ve seen is the terrifying side-effects as The Mist advances, ejecting its flock of vast, panicked beasts ensnared in its chaos which stampede out, crushing everyone in their path.


Both the black elves and the dwarves and even the human population are being used by three sisters said to be witches who won’t stray far from their palace and its arcane repository of power for fear of losing their closely guarded and coveted magic deep down a central well. They have a Repopulation Plan whose numbers, they claim, will keep The Voirandeer at bay and drive back The Mist.

Meanwhile, with their own special ability to discern the veins of the land, the dwarves are dispatched to map the individual territories divided by The Mist, even though the relationship between those maps is fluid, in a constant state of flux. Think of them as individual patches of a quilt without their binding stitches, floating about freely in a viscous liquid.


The same could be said about the tenuous treaties between the elves, dwarves and humans, and within each faction to boot.

Only one man has seen fit to conduct extensive research on The Voirandeer and its Mist: the father of human children Loon and Senda. As he did so he gathered the Children of Daurin, named after a mythical hero of folklore. But their father was lost many moons ago and the Children of Daurin have disappeared.

Now the Dwarves’ skills appear to be dissipating and with them their respect for authority.


The sisters’ artificially extended, pink, moon-faced youth is as ugly as it sounds, while the dark elves’ designs are magnificent in their malevolence. However, the real stars are the landscapes with their stone escarpments and the swollen, serpentine roots, trunks and boughs of trees, some of which seem to be knotted with knuckled hands and wrists, perhaps the occasional facial feature, and there are additional, subtle flourishes like part of a small stone fortress at the top of page 51, ripped from its foundations by the sheer power of an invasive tree’s growth, then borne aloft.

Top left, below:


This reprints the first two European editions in one album-sized hardcover, the second of which finishes with quite the disorientating twist.


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

Love Is Love (£7-50, IDW) by Many & Varied.

Love is a Good Thing. Love is a positive power which spreads joy.

Hatred is a small, nasty thing which festers inside and destroys all those who harbour it. Hatred is short-sighted, self-destructive and so often counter-productive.

Here’s a specific, delicious irony by way of example: there is a gay gene, and that gay gene would not have been passed this far down the human line had organised religion with its co-conspiratorial political and media weaklings not condemned, vilified and so ostracised those of us who are gay to the extent that many gay women and men felt so fearful of being found out or not fitting in that they paired off with those of the other (not opposite) sex and had children. For millennia.

Those preaching hatred under the lame excuse and umbrella of organised religion thereby perpetuated that very same quality which they still desire so fervently, fearfully and vociferously to wipe out.

What a bunch of numptees!

There is no fear here.

Instead, the dearly beloved of the comicbook industry have gathered here today to celebrate and enjoy this thing which we call life in all its caring, compassionate and constructive rather than destructive diversity.


There is strength in numbers; do not underestimate that.

When we stick up for others unlike ourselves – when you as a straight girl or guy stick up for gay folks; when we as white men or women protest against racism; whenever all of us whether Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Catholic, Atheist or Agnostic confront religious intolerance; when we truly understand the plight and so fight for the rights of those being stigmatised, dismissed and financially cut adrift for being less able-bodied than ourselves – we send out the most massive signals of solidarity which do make a big difference.

There is strength in numbers. There is strength in solidarity, and one of the most resolute, inspirational and galvanising phrases ever invented is this:

Ne touche pas à mon pote!

Don’t touch my friend!

I am deeply, deeply moved by everyone who has so far snapped up a copy of this comic at Page 45 simply because you care. The great news is that this is far from a band-wagon gesture, but instead heart-felt with plenty to say in often witty, well thought-out ways.

We’ll get to that very shortly, but before I dismount from my hobby horse, let me say this: the vast majority of homophobia isn’t even that: it consists of careless slurs which are not even believed by those giving such casual credence to a hatred of those who love… and it is done simply because they seek peer approval. That is why a message like this is important: it says we do not approve, and you will look a complete and utter dick if you continue to be so stupid and small.

Love is love.

Right, I can’t cover everything (this is a surprisingly long read) but let’s crack on with the praise:

One of my favourite pieces – because it made me smile when I needed it the most – was written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir then illustrated by Emma Vieceli. Two proud parents phone their son as he sits alone and aghast at night for the barely comprehensible news is flooding in over the television on June 12th 2016 that 49 individuals have been shot dead in a gay nightclub in Orlando. Tears stream down his face. The phone rings. As they swap the handset between them, sharing their love, concern and pride at their son’s courage in being himself, the mum and dad also swap complementary qualifiers, and that’s what made me smile: and it sounded like a very real conversation to me, you’ll see! There are still tears afterwards, but they are different tears. Parents, eh? Awww.

It’s preceded by a very simple but striking page of “split-screen” contrasts by Daniel Beals and David Lafuente called ‘Hand Me Down’ in which two much younger children are separated from play and taken home, one to a loving him whose father sits with his son as the same news rolls in and explains why some guys are kissing:

“Because they are sad and they love each other, son.”

It’s perfectly simple.

On the opposite side of the street, the son is left alone by this father and grandfather to overhear their reactions.

“Thin the herd. ’Bout time,” says his grandfather.
“Yeah. Faggots.”

“Faggots,” whispers the child, with wide, impressionable eyes, absorbing this learned behaviour.


Paul Jenkins and Robert Hack made me chuckle with their hate-mongering placards at an incite rally (“God Hates Dogs” “God Hates Cats”), as did Matthew Rosenberg and Amancay Nahuelpan with Matthew’s stream of robust and self-deprecating parenthetical asides fearing that he’s ill-qualified to comment, immediately after which he proves he’s supremely well equipped with a single simple sentence.

Far from obvious in its angle is Eddie Gorodetsky and Jesus Inglesias’ contribution which broke my tiny heart. I’ll leave you to absorb its exact implications for yourself, but it’s about a boy whose dad was murdered in just such a hate crime, leaving behind more than one mourner.

Devon T. Morales and Rags Morales’ love letter clutched in a dead, bloodied hand was as beautiful and tragic as its final embrace, while Dave Justus and Travis Moore prove they have a heart of gold when they play with your expectations in a gun shop. No, they really, really do, especially with the final line “Don’t forget your ammo” and what is being held aloft. It’s that kind of lateral thinking I truly applaud (and am in awe of) within an anthology which could so easily have been one long stream of didactic finger-pointing, just like my introduction.

Instead this is an overwhelmingly positive comic celebrating courage and commitment and the refusal to be cowed. In Bendis & Oeming’s case this takes the form of a silent double-page spread set down a gay nightclub full of love, lust, friendship and the delirium of dance, all of which deserve the loudest of celebrations.


Oh, and if all that wasn’t enough, this is a benefit book. The publisher’s blurb:

“The comic book industry comes together to honour those killed in Orlando this year. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics – mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated, from the creative to the production, with ALL PROCEEDS going to the victims, survivors and their families via EQUALITY FLORIDA…

“It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is that you love.”

The last thing I’d want to do, then, is rain on anyone’s Parade, but I’d just leave you with this sobering historical context from Justin Hall here, who caught up with comicbook creator Howard Cruse and his husband Ed Sedarbaum two days after the Orlando massacre when they recalled that, following an arson attack on a New Orleans gay bar in the 1970s which killed over 30 individual human beings with lives and loved ones, some of the victims were buried in unmarked graves because their families were too ashamed to claim them.


Buy Love Is Love and read the Page 45 review here

Long Gone Don And The Terror-Cotta Army (£8-99, David Fickling Books) by The Etherington Brothers.

“Yes! Brilliantly gross! You scared them off and taught them a new word!”

As I’ve said so often that it’s almost my trademark, all education should be entertainment.

And vice-versa.

Here you will be starved of neither.

“Are you talking about having an adventure?”
“Nope, it’s much more likely to be a series of horrendous, near-death experiences!”

Well, that’s okay because Don is a dude who’s already dropped dead.

He drowned face-down in bowl of oxtail soup following a split-second chain of Junior School accidents involving custard, a playing card, a not-so-caged hamster, a caretaker, his step-ladder, and a great big puddle of puke.

Our far-from-fortunate schoolboy promptly fell off this mortal coil and into the netherworld now known as Broilerdoom, acquiring a free peroxide into the bargain. In LONG GONE DON AND THE MONSTROUS UNDERWORLD, the first eye-boggling adventure of pun-packed, mirth-making mentalism, Don met many a monster and allies too.


On the “plus” side was Viktor Rictus, the sentient squid; Safina the thief; Castanet the crow with his fear of fights, flights and heights; deposed ruler Ripley who’s now mayor of The Slums; and a rude dude called Lewd who owns Demon’s Drink, a tavern which (it claims) “Cures What Ales You”.

On the mad, bad and shouty front we have Corpse City’s recent wrongful leader, a demon called Spode; Valush, his right-hand wraith; and now Bone-Dry Henson, a moustachioed Mexican skeleton.

At least, I think he’s Mexican. He might be Spanish. He’s definitely devilish and hell-bent on robbing The Slums’ citizens of their totems and so stealing their sanity – and it wasn’t all there to begin with.

On top of all that, tomb-toothed Thanatos – the gigantic, green lamprey-like creature which may contain the only portal able to propel our young hero home – has become ensnared by General Spode’s moat. He too has been robbed – but of what?!


Pre-teen excellence like all PHOENIX COMIC COLLECTIONS, this boasts the energy and exuberant cartooning of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s ASTERIX. I’m not even kidding you: I’m ever so slightly pleased with myself at finding such an apposite comparison. The degree of detail is completely unnecessary and frankly insane, but it’s a testament to how much the Etherington Brothers respect their young readers that they are willing to go those many extra miles to make this such visually thrilling fare, nor do they stint on the script. This is so dense in its best, value-for-money sense that parents can rest assured that their sprogs will be fully absorbed for far longer than almost any comparative comic.


There is, for example, a single panel in which Thanatos is persuaded to disgorge the considerable contents of its cavernous stomach including an early, experimental tricycle plane and a farmyard tractor. The lettering positively bellows at you and the colouring must have taken forever. Indeed the colouring comes with its own high energy levels, flashed-through as it is with bursts of yellow, pollen-like light.


For further recommended reading from Los Bros Etherington-os please see the most excellent puzzle adventures VON DOOGAN AND THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN MONKEY and VON DOOGAN AND THE GREAT AIR RACE from Lorenzo, and Robin’s grin-inducing FREAKY & FEARLESS prose.


Buy Long Gone Don And The Terror-Cotta Army and read the Page 45 review here

Lovers In The Garden (£8-99, Retrofit / Big Planet) by Anya Davidson…

“Hey handsome.lovers-in-the-garden-cover You drinking alone?”
“I know who you are.”
“Oh yeah? Who am I?”
“You’re Elyse Saint-Michel. You write for Chance Magazine. You spent six months riding with the Savage Nomads for a story about black biker gangs. You once snuck onto Henry Kissinger’s yacht disguised as a cleaning lady.”
“Yeah, well, I’m through stunt reporting. I’ve been following a story about the heroin epidemic for over a year now. I’ve got dirt on high-level officials in the DEA and the NYPD. When this story gets printed, the mayor’s gonna shit out of his dick-hole.”

She has a way with words, our Elyse, and she loves her hard liquor. She also happens to have struck up a conversation in this particular divebar with Flashback, a hippie hitman with a huge Afro working for one of the very heroin dealers she’s trying to expose, the dapper art aficionado Mister Dog. Meanwhile, Flashback’s partner Shephard has fallen hard in love with a girl he just met at a strip joint, and wants out. Shame she happens to be an undercover cop.


Yes… I don’t think it takes any great stretch of imagination to see this semi-farcical crime caper set in the seedy side of 1975 New York City is going to end dramatically. The bullets are going to fly every which way. The only question is who is going to be left standing, or at least crawling mortally wounded along the floor…

It’s a curious mix stylistically, like Jim Rugg’s AFRODISIAC mashed up with Brubaker and Phillips’ CRIMINAL, for make no mistake this is a highly entertaining, violent crime yarn. It’s just one that can’t be taken remotely seriously, partly also, I suppose, due to Anya Davidson’s art style which I found a bit reminiscent of both Jeffrey A MATTER OF LIFE Brown and Noah FANTE BUKOWSKI Van Sciver! It does definitely capture the crazy vibe of classic ‘70s flicks like DIRTY HARRY, though, and actually, the more I think about it, the crazy patter of the hitmen makes me think of the brilliant BULLET TO THE HEAD penned by Matz that was somehow sadly strangulated into a truly turgid film.


This is exactly the sort of off-the wall-material and creator (apparently Anya Davidson draws comics in the attic of a derelict building full of racoons on Chicago’s South Side if her website is to be believed, and frankly I see no reason why not) that Retrofit and Big Planet Comics specialise in championing, and which, thanks to our friends at Avery Hill, we now have ready access to. Well done all around.


Buy Lovers In The Garden and read the Page 45 review here

Sandman Mystery Theatre Book 2 (£26-99, DC) by Matt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle & Guy Davis, Vince Locke, various.

Previously in the highly recommended SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE BOOK 1:

Troubling period pieces for a very troubled period leading inexorably to the Second World War, this is crime fiction populated by remote or cruel parents, brutal, often sexual sadists, their helpless victims and broken progeny, all in a dark, 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 and 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.


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. 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…


The return of artist Guy Davis makes all the difference for ‘Vamp’ as a young man, womaniser and socialite, is attacked in the act of sex, his mouth, nose and urethra all sewn shut, and his body drained of blood. When Wesley climbs the 1930s fire escapes to dig around at the scene of the crime, he finds a matchbox from a club where his new girlfriend, the worryingly adventurous Dian Belmont, hangs out. Why are more bodies turning up with similar, increasingly brutal wounds, and is there a connection between the victims?

More racial segregation, sexual repression and dark, dirty alleyways, the balance between crime and romance, secrets and slow revelations is perfectly judged, and I love the way that Dian’s determined to be open-minded, yet somehow struggles to live up to her own aspirations – in this instance, as it all grows a little sapphic after smoking some weed.


Following ‘ The Scorpion’ Vince Locke is the perfect textural match for Davis’ period artwork in ‘Dr.Death’. Further acts of slaughter compel Wesley Dodds to stalk the streets and sewers, whilst both he and his girlfriend Dian adjust to the fact that she now knows what he does, if not quite why.

It’s a series that’s thick with intelligent, internal monologue because that’s the nature of this secretive, self-contained and perpetually soul-searching man, but now that Wesley has someone to talk to, will it prove his salvation or will what he does tear the two apart? That was as much of a hook as any of the crimes, for we’d quickly come to care for this kindly couple in a very unkind world.


Oh, and if you imagine that Dian is the only who will find herself falling short in her inclusivity, future developments will find Wesley taking a long hard look at himself – and other men – too.


Buy Sandman Mystery Theatre Book 2 and read the Page 45 review here

The Punisher vol 1: On The Road s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Becky Cloonan & Steve Dillon.

Swift, impeccably choreographed, no-nonsense action thriller starring The Implacable And Efficient One looking a lot leaner, lither and younger than he was in Garth Ennis’ PUNISHER MAX.

But he’s still all frowns and scowls. Disapproval is Frank Castle’s default setting.

Gone are that series’ real-world politics, nor is this the comedy burlesque of Ennis & Dillon’s PUNISHER: WELCOME BACK FRANK, but under SOUTHERN CROSS‘ Becky Cloonan you were never likely to see Frank Castle mixing it up with Marvel’s superheroes. What you will find instead are drugs (more enhancing that recreational – unlike steroids you won’t have to waste time lifting weights to ‘enjoy’ their beefed-up berserker benefits), drug development, drug runners, and the DEA in pursuit of all parties after Castle’s last-minute intervention on their long, drawn-out stake-out with a fast-tracked justice of his own which saved American tax payers a considerable sum of money.


As I’ve written before, not for Frank are the moral vagaries of two wrongs and a right. He’s not here to soliloquise, he’s here to blow people’s heads off, and you will find a phenomenal number of headshots here. Exploding skulls was one of Dillon’s many fortes, which was odd for such a lovely man. One of his others was quiet conversation which he could make so nuanced and riveting that I would have happily enjoyed a 120-page graphic novel drawn by Steve set entirely down a pub.


There are very few quiet conversations here, except perhaps that particularly tender scene between a father and his daughter as he lovingly straps her into a vest rigged with dynamite.

Frank Martin’s colours are so rich and warm that he even makes lethal green mists look like something you wouldn’t mind bathing in as a skin tonic / moisturiser.


The psychopaths are as usual all present and correct. Obviously there’s the Punisher himself, but also a dapper and ever so dishy young man whose grooming regime extends to a particular penchant for facial aftercare which PREACHER fans may find familiar. Admittedly the aftercare is for other people’s faces, and I don’t foresee there being any adequate returns policy under these specific circumstances.

For goodness sake do ignore the back-cover blurb which is so inaccurate in its claims of psychological examination that I can only imagine it to be the result of a long, drawn-out game of Chinese Whispers, whipped together at the last minute by an underpaid, corporate hype-monkey. Enjoy the glorious grotesquery instead.


R.E. the cover: I never saw a skull. Instead I saw a man with a Max Wall haircut which I cannot un-see. And now, nor can you.


Buy The Punisher vol 1: On The Road s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Rivers Of London: Night Witch (£13-99, Titan) by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel & Lee Sullivan…

“We’re the police.
“By definition, we all about systems, procedures, order…
“But the irony is… that what we really like about the job is…
“When you wake up in the morning…
“You literally don’t know what is going to happen next.”

Of volume one, RIVERS OF LONDON: BODY WORK I wrote…

I’ll have to confess I haven’t read the Rivers Of London prose books penned by Ben Aaronovitch, but I have had a fair few customers recommend them, so that probably explains why this series was relatively popular in comics form. So much so in fact, that has been expanded from a mini-series into an ongoing one. In a nutshell it’s basically Inspector Morse meets HELLBLAZER. Dapper, grizzled, humourless, veteran cop Inspector Nightingale and his amusing, hardworking sidekick Peter Grant fight crime in the big smoke. Except the twist is the crimes are all of the supernatural variety. They even have their own division, the Special Assessment Unit, known colloquially within the Met, and viewed with equally measures of suspicion and derision by the rank and file plod, as ‘Falcon’ or ‘The Folly.’ 


But after enjoying BODY WORK and now this volume immensely, I think I may well have to pick up the prose books. This arc once again involves a relatively complicated plot involving not one, not two, but three kidnappings, and one other attempted one. Well, two I suppose, ostensibly by Russian mobsters intent on extorting hard cash from a London-based former Oligarch. They’ve taken his young daughter, though his wife seems utterly convinced the abduction was perpetuated by a Leshy – a type of woodland Russian spirit akin to the British Green Man and thus not often seen in Kent!

She therefore reaches out to an intriguing new magical character with a familial connection, introduced here in her own very strange circumstances, one Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina, a Russian WW2 female soldier from the mystical Night Witches brigade (not to be confused with the real-life Night Witches pilots) who, much like Inspector Nightingale, shows remarkable powers of longevity. She’s not particularly minded to help find the missing girl, at least not directly, hence Nightingale and Peter Grant are pulled in by the powers that be to help the well connected Russians.


It is, of course, not remotely as simple as that, with multiple twists and turns provided by the various magical characters and, of course, some good old fashioned detective work from Peter Grant. I shall say no more for the avoidance of spoilers. Lee Sullivan returns on the art, and once again reminds me of Chris Weston.


Buy Rivers Of London: Night Witch and read the Page 45 review here

Hookjaw #1 (£2-99, Titan) by Si Spurrier & Conor Boyle…

“Ship’s minion Mag,hookjaw-1-cover meet Big Bertha. Quite possibly the dominant £$%&in’ member of the world-famous Virgin Brides. Ain’t she a beaut?”
“Think that’s a good contact, Professor. And… what do you mean, possibly dominant? Don’t you know? Over.”
“I mean there’s only so much £$%&in’ social observation you can do with binoculars and fishblood, love.”

I think, given the comic is called HOOKJAW, that might possibly turn out to be untrue by the end of this first issue…

But long before then you’ll probably be enthralled by the antics of Professor Leyland and her merry crew who are looking for evidence of cooperative behaviour in packs of Great Whites. They’ve been tracking their chosen chums, with the aid of chum, monitoring their movements in the Somali coastal region, famed for being one of the most polluted ocean regions on the planet. Now, what else is Somalia renowned for…? Ah yes… pirates.


Boarded by AK47-wielding buccaneers, you might think Professor Leyland would be a trifle perturbed but no, it’s all old hat to her. There follows a hilarious sequence where the cabin boy, a local lad, is interpreting between the pirates and crew. Well, “interpreting” might be putting a Malcom-Tucker-sized spin on it, given the artistic licence he’s applying to both questions and answers. Very amusing.

But that’s all brought to a rather abrupt halt by the unexpected arrival of a third party. Nope, not Hookjaw yet, though rest assured he is following verrrry closely behind, and it seems this shark already has developed a taste for seal. U.S. Navy Seal, that is…

Penned by Si CROSSED: WISH YOU WERE HERE / THE SPIRE / CRY HAVOC Spurrier, with his usual trademark dark humour accompanying the (fish) guts and gore, I am already as snagged as the titular shark. I’ll admit I was rather sceptical about the need for reviving a forty-year-old classic but then Humanoids’ CARTHAGO with its equally large, jagged teeth has been an instant hit here. I can’t believe it’s truly that long ago I was avidly reading HOOKJAW as a young kid in ACTION, bemused by the fact that humans, rather than the titular, flesh-hungry character, seemed to be the bad guys.


Conor Boyle’s art wouldn’t look out of place in an arc of CROSSED, actually, and so is perfect for this title. One thing I am a bit puzzled about – and I have had the exact same comment from a customer already – is that Hookjaw himself seems to have had some unnecessary cosmetic dental work. Whereas before the hook projected out of his skin just below his bottom row of teeth, in the middle, hence the name, now what he has is a long, straight harpoon that is stuck through the side of his head protruding directly out of his mouth. It looks as though, were the barb to catch on anything, the harpoon would pull straight out. Odd.

Anyway, it’s not going to spoil my enjoyment of this title, which I suspect will only be a mini-series or two. It was a fairly limited premise forty years ago. I think there were only three story arcs if memory serves and I can’t imagine even a writer as talented as Si Spurrier can come up with too much to keep it going for too long. So I shall enjoy the nostalgia dip whilst it lasts. Now, where did I leave my can of shark repellent…


Buy Hook Jaw #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.

Rolling Blackouts h/c (£16-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Sarah Glidden

The Bird King: An Artists Notebook h/c (£17-99, Arthur A Levine Books) by Shaun Tan

Invader Zim vol 3 (£17-99, Oni Press) by Jhonen Vasquez & Various

Catwoman vol 6: Final Jeopardy s/c (£26-99, DC) by Will Pfeifer & Alvaro Lopez, various

Grayson vol 5: Spirals End s/c (£14-99, DC) by Tim Seeley, Tom King, various & Roge Antonio, Carmine Di Giandomenico, various

Star Wars: Han Solo (£14-99, Marvel) by Marjorie Liu & Mark Brooks

Green Arrow vol 1: Death & Life Of Oliver Queen s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Benjamin Percy & Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra

Superman vol 1: Son Of Superman s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason & Patrick Gleason, Dough Mahnke, various

Psycho Pass: Inspector Shinya Kogami (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Midori Gotou & Natsuo Sai

Morning Glories vol 10 (£13-99, Image ) by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma

New Avengers by Bendis Complete Collection vol 1 s/c (£35-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & David Finch, Alex Maleev, various

Clean Room vol 2: Exile s/c (£13-99, DC) by Gail Simone & Jon Davis-Hunt

Johnny Red vol 1: The Hurricane (£17-99, Titan) by Garth Ennis & Keith Burns

Attack On Titan vol 20 (£8-99, Kodansha) by Hajime Isayama

Berserk vol 1 (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Kentaro Miura

The Totally Awesome Hulk vol 2: Civil War II s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Greg Pak & Alan Davis, Mike Del Mundo, various

Spider-Gwen vol 2: Weapon Of Choice s/c (£14-50, Marvel) by Jason Latour & Robbi Rodriguez

The Punisher vol 1: On The Road s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Becky Cloonan & Steve Dillon

Deadpool vol 5: Civil War II s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Gerry Duggan & Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot

New Avengers: A.I.M vol 3: Civil War II s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Al Ewing & Paco Medina, Carlo Barberi



ITEM! In its entirely: ‘Statueque’, a short storm written and directed by Neil Gaiman, starring Bill Nighy and Amanda Palmer with music by Sxip Shirey.

Please scroll down six or seven screens.

Although, you know, Sxip Shirey’s entire site is pretty inspirational.


ITEM! On shutting up shop for the year on New Year’s Eve, I took a photo of the shop floor with the lights out. Pretty eerie, eh?

Although if we rented out overnight hammocks with reading lights, I suspect we’d see no shortage of swingers.


– Stephen

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