Archive for April, 2019

Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews April 2019 week four

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Featuring Lewis Trondheim, Stephane Oiry, Stuart Kolakovic, Francesco Artibani, Alessandro Barbucci, Mai K. Nguyen, Gene Luen Yang, Carla Speed McNeil and many more besides…

Lichen h/c (£14-99, Blank Slate) by Stuart Kolakovic…

“You know we don’t have to climb these mountains don’t you?
“I could make you a tunnel that goes straight through it.
“I could even give you wings so you could just fly over it.
“All you have to do is wish for it.
“This silent treatment is really starting to wear thin.
“Do you think you’re so high and mighty that you can just ignore me?
“Or do you think I’m some sort of evil demon or something?
“Most people would kill to have the opportunity I’m offering you…
“Why can’t you just wish for something already?”

I think perhaps the deer herdsman just wishes you would shut up, Mister motormouth woodland spirit! Yes, yes he did do you a good turn and you did offer to grant him a single wish of absolutely anything his heart desired in return. But stalking him, hounding him, perpetually pestering him to make said wish is all just a little bit needy, don’t you think? I get it that no one has ever turned down a wish from you before, but maybe the herdsman is just a laid back sort of chap that doesn’t need or want for anything…?



Which… isn’t entirely true of course! It’s just that one probably shouldn’t use wishes or indeed any other sort of magic when it is true love you are after, I reckon… As does the herdsman.



For a chance encounter with a local lady, whilst in the undignified and instantly distressed state of being caught half-undressed washing in a stream, has set his heart-a-flutter. Her left behind scarf, carelessly snagged on a tree as she departed the scene with a hearty chuckle and a cheery wave, only serves as a continuous reminder to him of her all-too-brief sublime presence. But alas, the moment to pursue and woo elapsed, forever escaping our abluting shepherd, caught as he was in the catastrophic claws of all-consuming embarrassment…

Speaking of claws… there’s a bear out there too… One that really ought to be hibernating along with all the others, but instead is tracking the herdsman, his faithful canine chum and his voyaging venison, bells-a-ringing as they make their way from his isolated island camp all the way over the mountain tops to market. This bear seems utterly obsessed with our deer drover to the extent that it makes you wonder if there isn’t something… different… about this particular grizzly grouser.

Stuart Kolakovic’s has certainly set the bar high with his first graphic novel! For to my mind, this is no work of a callow beginner finding their artistic feet Bambi-style, if you’ll permit me a deer-based pun, but an immensely accomplished work, both visually and in terms of storytelling.

On that latter point, I found this as engrossing, enchanting and downright amusing as Isabella Greenberg’s THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH. It just has that same slightly naughty, mischievous charm, particularly once the woodland spirit joins our trooping troupe which coupled with the faux fairy tale feel makes for a delightfully amusing yarn packed with hart (sic). I really will stop with the deer jokes now I promise.



Artistically, you’ll be fawning (okay, okay, but that one seemed too good to miss) all over this if you are a fan of the likes of Jon KINGDOM McNaught. It is a different style, certainly, but it has that same attention to intricate detail liberally and seemingly effortlessly applied with beautifully muted, distinct colour palettes that just makes the panels feel like they are bursting with life and activity.

There is some superb design work going on throughout this tale which is apparently partly inspired by the creator’s Serbian ancestry. Indeed, this is as beautifully designed and illustrated as many a Nobrow published book.

You can see some slight hints of Eastern Europe flavour actually, and thus two works which only sprang to mind for very spurious comparative reasons would be MISTER MORGEN by Igor Hofbauer and William Goldsmith’s VIGNETTES OF YSTOV. But, as I say, they are a wee bit spurious.

So will the herdsman get his heart’s most fervent desire, either with or without resorting to magical means, or will the big, bad bear ensure that there’s no happy ending for anyone? Well, except the bear obviously. If you wish you could find out the antler, sorry answer, you know what to do, don’t you?


Buy Lichen and read the Page 45 review here

Maggy Garrisson (£14-99, Self Made Hero) by Lewis Trondheim & Stephane Oiry…


“I don’t know you.”
“Well, we know you Maggy Garrisson. Tell us what we want to know and we’ll leave.”
“Sure. No problem. You’re a pair of druggy morons. You both have a history of juvenile delinquency. Right now, you’re playing tough guys. But really you’re just sent here by someone who actually finished school and now gives the orders.

“Was there anything else you wanted to know?”

Haha, I do so like Maggy Garrisson. Here’s the rap sheet from the publisher to tell us all about this bad-mouthing bad ass…

“After two years of unemployment, Maggy Garrisson lands a secretarial job. Too bad her new boss is the shady, chaotic Anthony Wight: private detective and alcoholic. But a job is a job, and Maggy could use the cash.



Five days into her new role, Wight is beaten to a pulp and Maggy is tasked with returning his wallet. With this seemingly innocuous request, Maggy enters a sinister underworld of corrupt cops, crooked businessmen, and career criminals.

There’s a lot to investigate, from the disappearance of a family album to the theft of gold teeth from bodies at the crematorium. But for someone with the energy, ingenuity, and enterprising spirit of Maggy Garrisson, puzzles are there to be solved, especially if there’s money to be made in the process.”

And thus begins a hard hitting, if not entirely serious look at how to become a private detective pretty much entirely by accident! For once Maggie realises that not only can she pick up Anthony Wight’s very saggy caseload slack whilst he’s in hospital recuperating and get paid, she’s also well on the way to getting herself into no end of trouble too!



Fortunately, having cultivated policewoman Sheena as a drinking buddy, Maggie has at least some resources to try and help get her out of the particularly precarious situation her new boyfriend, the decidedly dodgy Alex (one of the two ‘druggy morons’), is dragging her ever further deeper into.



Well, okay, she’s running headlong into trouble and loving every second of it, but she’s still going to need a lot of help to avoid getting completely out of her depth if she’s not careful. Fortunately she is very careful indeed, and also very crafty to boot too…



This is for me hands down the best fictional work Lewis POPPIES OF  IRAQ Trondheim has done. I have no idea why he hasn’t decided to illustrate it himself, but in Stephanie Oiry he has found someone whose style is perfectly suited to this oh so well constructed game of cat and mouse. Maggie is convinced she can stay one step ahead of the local goons, but maybe they’re not the only people she needs to be watching out for…

This is as cleverly crafted a caper as CRIMINAL itself, with some wonderful little side-bar cases thrown in for good measure that Maggie needs to continually solve just to keep herself afloat for cash. The main case, though, whilst it might offer a considerably larger payday… of the not entirely legal variety… is the one that could also get her head kicked in good and proper if she’s not very careful… and verrrrry crafty… Did I mention…? Oh yes, I did!

Being set in the UK, with the mildly comedic convoluted case to unravel by an amateur sleuth thing going-on this also has some of the feel of Posy Simmonds’ CASSANDRA DARKE and indeed also MANN’S BEST FRIEND by Sophie & Scarlett Rickard. So therefore highly recommended!


Buy Maggy Garrison and read the Page 45 review here

Monster Allergy vol 1 (£9-99, Insight Comics) by Francesco Artibani & Alessandro Barbucci…

“Listen… can I ask you something? Is it true that you see… monsters?”
“Yes, it is!
“Even now, for example, this room is full of them! Three of ‘em are singing on that shelf…
“… and one is hiding behind the couch, a couple of jelly ones are on the ceiling…
“… and there’s a really big one called Bombo who can’t stop eating…
“… and there’s a talking cat, too… but he never has anything interesting to say.
“We’re surrounded by monsters… but I’m the only one that can see them!”

Yes, Zick probably needs a trip to the opticians as there seems to be that many monsters flying around I’m genuinely surprised he can see even where he’s going! It must make reading comics tricky too I would have thought… Anyway, here’s the publisher to tell us more about Zick and his peculiar problems…

“Explore the world of monsters in this thrilling installment of the Monster Allergy adventure! Elena Potato just moved to Oldmill Village, but she’s about to find out that there’s a lot more going on in this quiet little town than meets the eye; Oldmill Village is actually an oasis for all kinds of monsters!

Zick, Elena’s new neighbour, is a strange kid who is allergic to just about everything, but he alone has the power to see the invisible ghosts and monsters that live among us.



Together, Zick and Elena set out to investigate the strange phenomena going on in Oldmill Village, including a recent uptick in missing pets, a dangerous man-eating plant, and a sinister salesman who could pose the ultimate threat to both humans and monsters alike!”

So, spooky all-age amusing detective shenanigans then? Yes, indeed, that’s exactly what this is! The unlikely pair of new chums set straight about dealing with the school bullies who are as amused by Elena’s surname as they are Zick’s allergies, as well as the myriad monsters who just so happen to be floating around causing mayhem, plus more sinister earthly-bound evil too…



I really enjoyed this. It definitely has that same sense of daft that John Allison’s BAD MACHINERY has, not remotely to be taken seriously, just enjoyed for the sheer nonsensical goings-on that clearly are going to keep mysteriously following Zick and Elena round and round from volume to volume. I note volume two has already been solicited for September later this year by the way.

Art-wise, it’s bold and vibrant with more than a touch of whacky about it, which actually put me slightly in mind of the far more adult FARMHAND material from by Rob Guillory. This has that similar touch of always impending lunacy about it but is just very much more suitable for all-ages readers!


Buy Monster Allergy vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Pilu Of The Woods s/c (£11-99, Oni) by Mai K. Nguyen…

“Sometimes I feel like I could just disappear and no one would notice…”
“… Is that why you ran away? To disappear?”
“I don’t really think things can just disappear…
“Just ‘cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not important… doesn’t mean it’s gone. That’s how it is in nature.”

Very true, especially those stinging nettles that you only seem to see about one second before you stroll stridently right though them… Here’s the publisher to tell you what might happen if you pick this up and go down to the woods today…

“Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods.

There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home – which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.



But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet – which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger…and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.”

For this, dear readers, is very much a book about feelings, and also regrets, for Willow has fairly recently lost her mother and is still so very, very far from coming to terms with it. So when she meets Pilu, she feels duty bound, nay compelled, to help her friend get home, despite the fact that Pilu is still clearly working through her own maternally conflicted emotions herself.



I very much liked how this work explored coping with grief, when a loved one is suddenly, unexpectedly taken from you. The immense emotions it can bring out, plus working out how to get past dealing with all the things you didn’t say and also perhaps the few you did that you wish you hadn’t.

This book, perhaps because it is most definitely aimed at being a truly all-ages work, doesn’t dramatise or indeed even show Willow’s mother’s passing, instead alluding to it by showing the circumstances that lead up to it and then consequently making clear what terrible tragedy occurred. It’s handled in a very, very sensitive manner that would be fine with some parental guidance even for littlies.



Artistically, the main character of Pilu reminded me hugely of the titular character in Emily Hughes’ illustrated prose work WILD about a little feral girl who is found in the woods and resists all attempts to tame her by her ever more despairing adoptive family. The art style here with the big, plaintive eyes of both characters set amongst the friendly, flowery forest will certainly make you think of many a current all-ages work such as CUCUMBER QUEST, SPACE BOY, HILDA and NIGHTLIGHTS, though this certainly has charms all of its own too.


Buy Pilu Of The Woods and read the Page 45 review here

Tamamo The Fox Maiden And Other Asian Stories s/c (£13-99, Other A-Z) by Gene Luen Yang, Carla Speed McNeil, various…

Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll let the publisher begin to tell us all about…

“An incredible collection of tales from all over Asia, retold as stunning comics by some of the best independent artists the internet has to offer.

Vengeful spirits, flying ogres, trickster tigers, and much more. Featuring the work of Gene Luen Yang, Nick Dragotta, Blue Delliquanti, Carla Speed McNeil, Nina Matsumoto, and many more, this is one lively collection of Asian folktales, reimagined and retold in comics!”

The second volume in the “Cautionary Fables & Fairytales Book” series after THE GIRL WHO MARRIED A SKULL AND OTHER AFRICAN STORIES, this time around this sees us relocate geographically to Asia…



As before there may be the odd tale, or variation thereof, that seems familiar but most of these tales were certainly completely new to me.



Told in black and white, by a whole host of creators, if you fancy finding out a little more about Asian folklore then this may be for you. There’s twenty one tales to be told, all short and sweet though a fair few feature a sticky end…



Whilst it’s no FABLE COMICS by any means, it is certainly a most enjoyable way to acquire some cultural knowledge that’s probably safer than the terrifying prospect of being babysat and taught some learnin’ old school style by Shigeru Mizuki’s NONNONBA.


Buy Tamamo The Fox Maiden And Other Asian Stories and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

New reviews to follow, but if they’re new formats of previous books, reviews may already be up; others will retain their Diamond previews information we receive displayed as ‘Publisher Blurb’.

A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities (£8-99, Limerence Press) by Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

American Gods vol 2 h/c (£20-00, Dark Horse) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton

Brink vol 3 (£12-99, Rebellion) by Dan Abnett & I.N.J. Culbard

Cannonball h/c (£22-99, Uncivilised Books) by Kelsey Wroten

Firefly vol 1: Unification War h/c (£14-99, Boom!) by Greg Pak & Dan McDaid

The Ghost Of Ohio s/c (£17-99, Z2) by Andy Biersack, Scott Tuft & Eryk Donovan

Outdoors (£14-99, Breakdown Press) by Yokoyama Yuichi

Peterloo: Witness To A Massacre (£11-99, New Internationalist) by Eva Schlunke, Robert Poole & Polyp

Scarlet vol 1 s/c (£14-99, Jinxworld) by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev

Sunday’s Child h/c (£16-99, Jonathan Cape) by Serena Katt

Thin Slices Of Anxiety: Observations and Advice to Ease a Worried Mind (£9-99, Chronicle Books) by Catherine LePage

Windowpane (£19-99, Breakdown Press) by Joe Kessler

Injustice 2 vol 4 s/c (£14-99, DC) by Tom Taylor & various

Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Kelly Thompson & Mattia De Iulis, Filipe Andrade

Marvel Knights 20th s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Donny Cates, various & Travel Foreman, various

Venom vol 2 s/c (£15-99, Marvel) by Donny Cates & Ryan Stegman

Barefoot Gen vol 8 (£14-99, Last Gasp) by Keiji Nakazawa

Goblin Slayer vol 4 (£11-99, Yen Press) by Kumo Kagyu & Kousuke Kurose

Letters For Lucardo (£13-99, Iron Circus Comics) by Noora Heikkila

Eddie Campbell & Audrey Niffenegger signing at Page 45, May 23rd 2019!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Audrey Niffenegger, author of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ and ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, and Eddie Campbell, creator of ALEC and co-creator with Alan Moore of FROM HELL, will be signing their joint graphic novel BIZARRE ROMANCE (and much more besides!) at Page 45, Nottingham, on Thursday May 23rd 2019 from 5-30pm to 7pm.



This follows their appearance as Guests of Honour at the Nottingham UNESCO City Of Literature festival earlier in the day.

It’s a very special A&E signing!

We Have (And We Ship Worldwide!):

“The attic was infested with angels again.
“I could hear them bumping around above the ceiling.
“Plus, the harp music made it pretty obvious.”
BIZARRE ROMANCE by Audrey Niffenegger & Eddie Campbell



Plus by Eddie Campbell:

‘The Goat Getters’



Plus by Audrey Niffenegger:

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’
‘Her Fearful Symmetry’
‘Ghostly: A Collection Of Ghost Stories’

Please click on links for reviews.



The time: 5-30pm to 7-00pm
The date: Thursday 23rd May 2019
The place: Page 45, 9 Market Street, Nottingham NG1 6HY
Admission: Free!

No tickets, no fee, just turn up and meet two of the world’s finest raconteurs in comics and prose while they sign whichever books you fancy!.

“Aargh, I SO want stuff signed but I live at the South Pole!”



Not by choice, surely? Brrrr! Still, I do think it’s thawing.

The good news is that We Ship Worldwide!

Order anything by either creator online at before May 19th 2019 and add “PLEASE GET THIS SIGNED BEFORE SHIPPING” in the comments box and it shall be done! Similarly if you select “collect in-store” with “THIS IS FOR THE A&E SIGNING” then we will add that to the signing stash too.

If in doubt, for all queries please phone Page 45 on (0115) 9508045.



Keep Up To Date:

Page 45 Twitter: @PageFortyFive
Audrey Niffenegger Twitter: @AANiffenegger
Eddie Campbell Twitter: @ecampbelldammit
Page 45 News & Reviews:
If you have any questions, please phone 0115 9508045.


Stephen L. Holland

Till Monkey With A Typewriter
Co-creator, co-owner, co-manager, Page 45

Special love to Sandeep Mahal, Director of Nottingham UNESCO City Of Literature, for catalysing this comics and prose creator confluence. Also: to Audrey and Eddie for getting hitched.

This has been a special A&E Signing Announcement on behalf of We Hope We Don’t Have To Go To Hospital For It.

You are so welcome.


Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews April 2019 week three

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Featuring Seth, Emily Carroll, Michael DeForge, Riff Reb’s, A. Tota, P. Van Hove, Terry Moore

Clyde Fans h/c Box Set Slipcase Edition (£42-00, Drawn & Quarterly) by Seth.



The most eagerly anticipated completion in comics of the last decade alongside BERLIN by Jason Lutes!

From the creator of WIMBLEDON GREEN, IT’S A GOOD LIFE IF YOU DON’T WEAKEN, GEORGE SPROTT and THE GREAT NORTHERN BROTHERHOOD OF CANADIAN CARTOONISTS (those last two being Page 45 Comicbook Of The Months), this exquisite slipcased die-cut h/c collects a 488-page generational epic so long in the making that our Mark was still on hand to review the first instalment, after which Jonathan and I observed PALOOKAVILLE’s progress as it was released periodically.

Honestly? It’s mostly Jonathan.

Book One:

Two brothers inherit their father’s company, selling and manufacturing fans.

In the first half of the book it’s 1997 and Abraham Matchcard wanders through his day, looking back through the ups and downs of the business, admitting that they were unprepared for the rise of the air conditioner industry.

Once thriving, Clyde Fans was overtaken by technological progress, too self-assured to change track when advancements took place. At the abandoned headquarters he voices regrets for his life and that of his brother, Simon:

“Christ, it’s the norm for a salesman to promote himself. That’s the number one produce he’s selling.  It’s also a quality I’ve always found repulsive in myself and others.”

We go back to 1947 for the second part of the story. Arriving in the small Canadian town of Dominion, Simon is out of his depth. He’s asked to be a travelling salesman, wanting to prove himself to his brother, but without the requisite charm and bluff he finds himself knocked back a few times, backing away with sweaty palms. As he walks the street, the buildings seem to crowd him out. He can’t face phoning Abe to say how its all going. And it’s not going well.



This is not only an excellent character study but also a delicately drawn evocation of the past. Seth, as we know from IT’S A GOOD LIFE IF YOU DON’T WEAKEN, has sympathies for Abe and his feelings of being left behind as the world expands and thunders on. The detailing of the clothes and stores is wonderful, right down to the cheap, plastic novelties another salesman is hawking.



There are a dazzling few pages at the beginning showing the dawn approaching as we see the light falling on the buildings. As the pressure builds for Simon, his brother is shown in single panels, looking down on him like an angry God. We feel the guilt and panic.

Book Two:

Abraham Matchcard, President of the Borealis Business Machines company which produces his own Clyde Fans, sits in his office with his lawyer and reluctantly signs the papers that will declare it bankrupt.

On the wall hang photographs of more prosperous times when they could afford to develop charity funds. By contrast he’s about to make every one of his employees redundant, and as Abraham drives past the picket line he’s haunted by each individual face of those he’s just passed. They’re on strike for no more than a decent, basic living wage, but the company can’t afford even that, and by tomorrow morning they will no longer have any job at all.

After that Abraham’s thoughts revert to a father whose face he doesn’t even recall; a man he hated.

This is the story of the steady decline of Abraham Matchcard and his business empire through the inevitable changes occurring in manufacturing industries and the retail sector, but also through the inability of Abraham to adapt. He knows he’s a dinosaur, he can see extinction coming, but he’s still going through the motions.

Later, he endures the very definition of strained conversation with his brother Simon. Strangulated would probably be a better adjective to employ, actually.



It’s quite incredible how such a downbeat, depressing story can be so utterly gripping.

Design is something that so powerfully stands out in Seth’s work these days. His love of small panels, frequently working on a 4 x 4 or 4 x 5 grid on an already relatively small page, means you really do see the clever constructional conceits that are ever-present throughout his stories.



I can’t think of another creator where you can be so strongly aware of the design element without it distracting from the storytelling whatsoever. I am still completely present in the moment reading a PALOOKAVILE, but it’s just I am so vividly aware of this extra dimension and depth to the construction of the page subtly subconsciously seeping into my overall perception. His attention to detail is immaculate.

Eventually there’s the inevitable, sad, yet fulfilling moment as the epic story of Simon Matchcard draws to a conclusion by coming full circle back to the year 1957 where we left him at the end of the first half. Here we see the epiphany which sets him on the course of what will turn out to be his long, lonely life. It’s a rather poignant scene, knowing as we do everything that is to follow. For here, Simon is nothing but full of optimism of what lies ahead, certain of the path he is taking and the rewards it will bring.

Eh dear.

MAS & JR with a mere slither of SLH

Buy Clyde Fans h/c Box Set Slipcase Edition and read the Page 45 review here

When I Arrived At The Castle (£13-99, Koyama Press) by Emily Carroll  ~

“You really are a timid, shivering thing, aren’t you?
“It has a stink, you know?
“Your meekness.
“It makes me want to vomit.”

Says the Countess, lounging loosely and seductively in an armchair, elegant finger curled at painted lip, body delicately wrapped in swathes of sheer fabric… With hooded eyes she’s hardly giving her guest a second glance. She did, quite rudely, arrive early after all…

The countess has power and she knows it. She is ‘accommodating’ to her guest, but not without torment, for she knows precisely why her guest is paying her a visit, and so will take every opportunity to torment her captive caller.



Emily THROUGH THE WOODS Carroll is back with another sensual slice of gothic horror. Done with deft elegance in her signature black, white and red, she has woven a fever-dreamlike tale.



Overlapping images and layers of details and patterns create a chaotic and intoxicating environment, filling the viewer with a certain unease, while well constructed and surprising characters are brilliantly bewitching. Carroll has cleverly entwined fables, which punctuate the story like a slight blow to the head, each time coming to ta new level of disorientation.



Victoriana gothic horror at its finest, this will certainly tantalise the taste buds of her current fans, but also be a striking draw for newcomers.


Buy When I Arrived At The Castle and read the Page 45 review here

Memoirs Of A Book Thief h/c (£14-99, Self Made Hero) by A. Tota & P. Van Hove…

“I whipped everything out I could remember of Gilles’ speech about art being passé and laid it on him, explaining the connection between car theft and poetry.
“He asked me countless questions. He wanted to know everything. I was forced to make up increasingly unbelievable stories.
“I painted myself as a shrewd connoisseur of modernity, a verbal revolutionary, an adventurer of enigmatic intent…
“Nicole discovered that she was hanging out with an essential player on the international art scene.”

Which was of course total bullshit! Here’s the publisher to tell us more about the deliverer of deception, the font of fabrication, the master of the mendacious that is one Daniel Brodin…

“Paris, the 1950s. Daniel Brodin – bibliophile, book thief, self-proclaimed poet – enters the heated atmosphere of the Cafe Serbier, home of the Parisian literati. Daniel impulsively puts himself forward for a poetry recitation.

Under pressure, he recites not one of his own surrealist poems but an obscure piece of Italian verse he’s certain no one will know. It’s plagiarism, but it’s a triumph. Daniel’s recital marks his entrance into the Parisian avant-garde: a band of cultured rogues and pseudo-revolutionaries for whom life is a playground for art and planning a robbery has as much value as writing a book.



In this milieu, the wine is good and the girls are beautiful. But can success last if it is founded on plagiarism and theft?”

Well, that depends entirely on if you continue to get away with it, I would imagine! And Daniel does, for a long, long time… But any house of cards will eventually topple if you keep on trying to build it higher and higher…



I’ll be completely honest now, unlike the disingenuous Daniel: I really wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this from my first extremely cursory flick through. However, pretty much as soon as I commenced, I was hooked. By the character of Daniel, and indeed all his crackpot cohorts in ‘the scene’ with their hair-brained schemes, both artistic and criminal, their petty jealousies and rivalries, and of course the compulsory booze-drenched lifestyle.



Consequently I found this a hilarious enjoyable, riotous piece of contemporary fiction, well, part cautionary tale too, I suppose! You’ll find yourself rooting for Daniel, even though you know you really shouldn’t, but we all love a chancer, don’t we? Though he does steal books… so on principle I ought to regard him as a complete and utter irredeemable bastard, deserving of burning in hell forever in the very special corner reserved for those partaking of the five-fingered discount of reading material.

Sorry, got a bit carried away there! Let him takes his chances and we’ll see what happens… For when Daniel eventually finds himself in far, far too deep to extract himself from yet another stupid situation of his own creating, you’ll very possibly groan out loud just as I did at the inevitable misstep he finally makes…

Art-wise, the deliberately, dare I say it, slightly dishevelled style is absolutely perfect for this work. Black and white throughout, the only splash of colour is the red wine in Daniel’s glass on the front cover (and some letters in the title and creator’s names for good measure which actually works very nicely). There’s many an intense stare, sly grin and frequently sweaty brows as Daniel continues to try and navigate increasing murky waters.


Buy Memoirs Of A Book Thief h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Men At Sea s/c (£22-99, Dead Reckoning) by Riff Reb’s…

“One by one, towards the end of the second week, the crewmembers died, some of cold, others of exposure, exhaustion, and melancholy.”

It’s a hard life aboard the good ship Page 45, let me tell you!

Anyway… avast there, me hearties, prepare to have your timbers shivered and your soul sent down to Davey Jones’ Locker for a laugh-a-minute look at the high seas this is not. No. In fact, after reading this dour drove of cautionary tales regarding life, well death, on the ocean waves, I think this land lubber will be steering well clear of coastal climes for many a moon. Which is very possibly what the creator intended, dear reader, but fear ye not as I’m sure you sequential art mariners are made of far sterner stuff than I…

Here’s the publisher to tip you the black spot and mark you guilty of perusing comics for your own piratical pleasure…

“MEN AT SEA is an opus of eight spectacularly drawn dark, poetic stories freely adapted by Riff Reb’s. This collection offers: ‘A Smile of Fortune,’ from Joseph Conrad, ‘The Sea Horses’ and ‘The Shamraken Homeward Bound,’ from William Hope Hodgson, ‘The Galley Slaves’ and ‘The Far South,’ from Pierre Mac Orlan, ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom,’ from Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Three Customs Officers,’ from Marcel Schwob, and ‘The Shipwreck,’ from Robert Louis Stevenson.

These eight tales, themselves interspersed by seven double-page spreads dedicated to extracts from illustrated classics, deliver a rich, poetic, and masterfully crafted work of life and death on the sea.”



That they do. Particularly death… I think you do probably need to be a big fan of the briny foam or illustrated classics to fully appreciate these tales. The slightly exaggerated art style and limited colour palettes used throughout perfectly highlight the fearsome, ferocious, all-powerful nature of the oceans and one’s chances of survival if you find yourself in a salty scrape, be that confronting a veracious vortex or just stoically dealing with a sinking ship.



Time for this man to go overboard and swim swiftly on to the next review, but before you read that, you might want to muse on Nick Hayes’ socially satirical THE RIME OF THE MODERN MARINER, which was a decade ahead of David Attenborough when it came to pointing out what we’ve done to our oceans with plastics.


Buy Men At Sea s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Leaving Richard’s Valley (£22-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Michael DeForge…

“Have you ever thought that maybe the valley isn’t just a place… it’s more like an idea…”

The master of the disparately absurd returns with his most coherently straightforward work yet.

Haha, you didn’t believe that for a second did you? Just as well! Here is a succinct, sensible summary of DeForge’s latest dene of disastrous daft from the publisher…

“Richard is a benevolent but tough leader who oversees everything that happens in the valley. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his ragtag group of friends take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard’s strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they’ve ever known.



DeForge’s tale expands from a bizarre hero’s quest into something more: they make it out of the valley and into the big city, and we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more.”

Richard is a dick, and not just in the diminutive sense. That’s not a spoiler, by the way… you’ll certainly pick that up pretty quickly for yourselves. Quicker than Lyle and his chums, I’m sure. But when the penny finally drops they certainly throw themselves into their exiled existence with a newfound zest for life. Amazing what getting out from under the opposable thumbs of a domineering despot can do for your self-esteem…



I should probably make clear at this point that Richard is the only human in the valley. The fact that he’s decided to sequester himself away in the middle of a park smack bang in the centre of Toronto to lord it over the wildlife possibly hints at why he isn’t ideal leadership material… As Lyle and company manage to start making a go of it in the big city, Richard’s regime, and mental health, inevitably begin to crumble and then collapse apace in tragic tandem.

I’ll possibly have to retract my opening statement to mention that this is, in some senses, DeForge’s least surreal tale, talking animals musing the meaning of life and escape from the clutches of cultdom aside… The strict four-panel-per-page format and askew life lessons put me slightly in mind of PEANUTS, which frankly is a suitably totally ridiculous comparison. This is more like a comedic, satirical, warped version of Ander Nilsen’s BIG QUESTIONS. With extra added odd.



In DeForge terms, this is closest in feel to STICKS ANGELICA, FOLK HERO, which actually would be my opening gambit for someone new wanting to give him a try. Or possibly the equally preposterous and indeed hilarious BRAT. This chunky tome is more one for DeForge aficionados as I suspect it would definitely be over-long for someone brand new to his work.

Art-wise it was a slight surprise to see only black and white after all his recent vibrant colour works. I have seen him employ black and white for the odd much shorter strip, but I’ve always personally felt his whacky colour palette only added to his artistic charms. Well, this is monochrome technically, just about, rather than black and white, but still, for such a long work it was possibly a very prudent decision in time terms if nothing else! Surreal he may be, silly he is not.


Buy Leaving Richard’s Valley and read the Page 45 review here

Strangers In Paradise XXV Omnibus (s/c £26-99, h/c £35-99, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore.

Book One:


There’s a sign on the New York subway accentuated, emphasised and made urgent by piercing eyes. It says:


In a pressed white shirt, suit and tie, a smart man on his smart phone is standing. He is sombrely checking for texts or the latest, breaking News Headlines. He would do well to do that. Satisfied, he slips the phone into his overcoat, scowling at the crowd as the carriage doors open. Commuters get on, commuters get off and, once on the open platform, he checks his coat pocket as per habit, pat-pat. It is not well weighted.





The boy and the man are dashing up the escalator, the small boy diving between pedestrians while the smart man is impeded and – shit – there’s another kid who’s tossed the cell phone sideways in passing! It’s nimbly caught in a pre-planned relay race, the brat in the hoodie heading up the stairs at speed, swerving right towards the foyer’s crossover before throwing this exceptionally mobile phone clean over the gleaming glass balustrade!

It’s gone.



Down below a good-looking woman in her thirties, well dressed for winter in a jacket and loose woollen scarf, calmly and casually removes the SIM card from its casement. As she discards the rest, the detritus unnecessary to her purpose, she glares up at the smart man who’s not now feeling very smart at all, looks her victim straight in the eye and she gives him a grimace which he will never forget.

Oh my God! It’s — !

Welcome to Terry Moore’s STRANGERS IN PARADISE – or indeed, welcome back! – on this, its 25th Anniversary. You can read our prior reviews if you fancy, but you need know nothing in order to settle straight in to one of the series we have been most phenomenally fond of in all of our years working in comics, for this is a very fresh start.

After surviving all that the world and Katchoo’s pitch-black past could throw at them, Katchoo and Francine are now happily – nay, blissfully – married, living out in the dessert with their two delightful daughters in a luxury villa financed by Katchoo’s highly successful career in fine art… but probably her previous one too.

Katchoo was a Parker Girl. She “belonged” to Darcy Parker. Darcy Parker was a vicious woman who used other women to infiltrate the government at its highest levels. The Parker Girls were essentially the highest paid prostitutes imaginable, and they never got to leave.

Katchoo left, though I will not say how, and now sits with one of Darcy’s former enforcers, the formidable, ever-brooding, stone-faced Tambi, as they watch Francine play, splashing away during the heat of the day, in the extensive garden’s swimming pool with one of their beloved daughters.

There is so much laughter!

Katchoo is smiling maternally, lovingly, with all the adoration she has always held in her heart for her now-wife Francine, right from the very first moment we met them. Reciprocation did not come easily and it did not come quickly. STRANGERS IN PARADISE was a very long series: 2,400 pages long! But here they are, and they have arrived!

You’ll notice Tambi and Katchoo share a certain look. Darcy Parker liked blondes very much. Tambi is not smiling lovingly and her arms are criss-crossed with scars.



“You know,” begins Katchoo, a twinkle in her eye, “I used to think you only had two looks, mean and meaner. Then I saw you hold my babies.”
“You fought hard for what you have, Katchoo. Wife, kids, a new life… Nothing came easy for you.”

That’s very true.

“I don’t want to see you lose everything you worked for.”
“Why would I lose everything? Tambi?”

I loved the reversal on the first few pages where we came in. Initially I fretted for the smart man with the smart phone (his name’s Scott) for we all fear pickpockets and fewer ever say something even if they see something, and fewer still do anything about it. And Terry keeps you going breathlessly for three pages before you discover the phone’s final recipient.



Scott’s married to a woman called Laura, by the way.

She’s called Laura, but that’s not her name. Her real name is Stephanie, and she has that certain look too.


Oh no.



Book Two:

“Who controls the past controls the future.

“Who controls the present controls the past.”

 – George Orwell

Who controls the future here remains to be seen.

Previously in STRANGERS IN PARADISE (the Omnibus review is ever so slightly expansive):

Katchoo and Francine have endured the vicious repercussions of Katchoo’s tarnished past – which have come back to curtail their present and so threaten their future – successfully enough against all adversarial odds, to settle down and carve themselves a blissful, tranquil family life with their two daughters in a really rather swish villa strategically sequestered in the middle of nowhere.

It is idyllic!

Then STRANGERS IN PARADISE XXV vol 1 kicks off.



To ensure her family’s safety, Katchoo finds herself racing frantically across the globe from the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the remotest jungles of Colombia. Unfortunately, she’s left Francine and the girls terrifyingly vulnerable in the supposed sanctuary of their home.



All the weathers are here, both hot and humid and freezing with snow which Moore draws so eye-blindingly well, plus the sort of cliff-leaping, all-out action that you’d expect from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.




By now, however, long-term Terry Moore fans will have noticed his various storylines merging, incorporating characters and plot points from previous series MOTOR GIRL, RACHEL RISING and ECHO.

They’re rekindled here to kick off the next series – imminently and ominously – in FIVE YEARS #1 and FIVE YEARS #2 which will automatically be distributed to those signed up at Page 45 for SiP.

For, as I say, who controls the future remains to be seen.


Buy Strangers In Paradise XXV Omnibus h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Buy Strangers In Paradise XXV Omnibus s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Note: SiP Omnibus not actual covers. The s/c is essentially #1, h/c #10

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

New reviews to follow, but if they’re new formats of previous books, reviews may already be up; others will retain their Diamond previews information we receive displayed as ‘Publisher Blurb’.

Circle h/c (£12-99, Walker Books) by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Gideon Falls vol 2: Original Sins s/c (£14-99, Image) by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart

Kiss Number 8 (£13-99, First Second) by Colleen AF Venable & Ellen T. Crenshaw

Maggy Garrison (£14-99, Self Made Hero) by Lewis Trondheim & Stephane Oiry

Magic Order vol 1 s/c (£17-99, Image) by Mark Millar & Olivier Coipel

Monster Allergy vol 1 (£9-99, Insight Comics) by Francesco Artibani & Alessandro Barbucci

Pilu Of The Woods s/c (£11-99, Oni) by Mai K. Nguyen

Square s/c (£6-99, Walker Books) by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Tamamo The Fox Maiden And Other Asian Stories s/c (£13-99, Other A-Z) by Gene Luen Yang, Carla Speed McNeil, various

The Witch Boy (£11-99, Scholastic) by Molly Knox Ostertag

Shatterstar s/c (£14-50, Marvel) by Tim Seeley & Carlos Villa

The Girl From The Other Side vol 6 (£9-99, Seven Seas) by Nagabe

Goblin Slayer vol 4 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Kumo Kagyu & Kousuke Kurose

Go With Clouds, North By Northwest vol 1 (£11-99, Vertical) by Aki Irie

Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family (£11-99, Den Pa) by Type-Moon & Taa

Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews April 2019 week two

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Featuring Jaime Hernandez, Guilherme Petreca, Joe Todd-Stanton, Terry Moore, Jiro Taniguchi, Joe Casey, Benjamin Marra

A Mouse Called Julian h/c (£11-99, Flying Eye Books) by Joe Todd-Stanton.

“But Julian didn’t know that he was being watched.”

Watched by a fox!

One giant eye gazes out from the undergrowth as young Julian returns home with the blueberries he’s gathered, oblivious to the fact that he’s led this hungry predator right to his door!

I do relish a reprise, and that is a sentence which will be returned to much later on, with not one but two whiplash surprises, one almost immediately after the other, which will leave you and your Young Ones breathless!

From Joe Todd-Stanton, the creator of Page 45 best-sellers ARTHUR AND THE GOLDEN ROPE and MARCY AND THE RIDDLE OF THE SPINX, comes yet another drop-dead gorgeous graphic novel / picture book that will once again lead shining eyes right round the pages in search of exquisite, half-hidden details like the unexpected furnishings of Julian’s burrow and the wider subterranean lives of his fellow underground occupants.



All of this comes furnished with the most natural of woodland and pasture colours in earthy browns, warm orange and dark or gleaming greens, printed on each page with the exceptional production values which you’ve come to expect from the Flying Eye imprint of Nobrow Books.

As to those underground occupants, they’re a bit of a bother to self-contained Julian.

“Julian had lived on his own for as long as he could remember, and that was the way he liked it.
“All the animals above ground tried to eat him.
“And all the animals below ground got in his way.”

Well, it can all grow quite cramped and crowded. Above ground, he’s become a bit of an expert at dodging dogs, cats and hungry barn owls while foraging in the fields in order to return safely home.

“But Julian didn’t know that he was being watched.”



Oooooh! This is the first time we hear that, as Julian opens his secret trap door, gazing diligently around, but in all the wrong directions!

“That night, the fox crept up to Julian’s house, and using all of his skill and cunning… smashed right through Julian’s front window.”

Hmmm… A bit low on the cunning front, that. And the fox hasn’t really thought things through.

“The fox bared his teeth…
“And howled and growled…
“But he couldn’t quite reach Julian.
“The fox was well and truly stuck!”



That’s a delicious pair of pages: first there’s the fox’s gigantic, snapping, rapacious jaws so confidently close to victory with tiny Julian cowering below in his old leather boot-bed, the reader’s eyes focussed on the peril by the spotlight shone through the window; then, opposite, comically, we’re treated to the foolish fox’s sudden “uh-oh! ” realisation of the rashness of his action in a pan-back that reveals his hind quarters up-ended in mid-air without either purchase or dignity, our eyes again drawn there by his alarmed, backwards-looking eye.

“Pardon me, but would you be so kind as to help me out?” asked the fox.

Eyes, closed, all innocent-like.

“Help you?” yelped Julian, “You just tried to eat me!”
“Of course I didn’t. I was simply popping in to see if you were OK,” lied the fox.

Sounds perfectly plausible to me!

“I’m not OK at all! Your big head is in my house!” said Julian.
“Well, if you help me, I promise you will never see or my big head again,” pleaded the fox.

Now, my lovelies, would you trust that fox, the traditional trickster of the animal kingdom, and specifically the one who has just blithely lied to your tiny, whiskered face…? The one who has never once before popped in to see if you were doing okay, but instead has a prior history of attempting to eat you…?

Well, you’re in for a fair few surprises!

You really are!



To begin with, however, the question is rendered irrelevant, for although Julian doesn’t want those great big eyes staring into his house and is even more averse to those great big, pointy teeth so close to his nose, the fox is enormous and Julian is no more than a mouse. So try as he might, Julian cannot shift the russet one’s great big behind – it simply will not budge.

Then something heart-warming happens.

“When it got to dinner time, Julian couldn’t bear to watch the fox’s sad, hungry eyes.
“So he shared what he had and they talked and ate long into the night.”

But, best beloveds, that’s merely the beginning, for we’ve yet to encounter the reprise!

What will happen when they wake up in the morning, then go about their respective routines?

One is a hunter, the other is a gatherer. And the gatherer is always being hunted.

“But Julian didn’t know that he was being watched.”

Shadows and focus; darkness and light.



The richness of emotional experience which Joe Todd-Stanton offers here is not necessarily obvious. While many picture books render as much as possible in the brightest of colours and the shiniest of tones to please both parents and progeny with their immediate feel-good factor which I do not disdain, this is printed on matt paper instead with a firm, focal, candle-lit warmth on the central, pivotal, double-page spread which celebrates the generosity of sharing food… but on either side we experience an extraordinary and unexpected wealth of darkness and light both between contrasting pages and within the same panels.

This keeps us guessing as to motives, and makes one anxious when it comes to outcomes.

And this is as it should be.

Gripped, from start to finish!


Buy A Mouse Called Julian h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Ye s/c (£17-99, Top Shelf) by Guilherme Petreca ~

“Don’t be afraid!
“Keep your heart light.
“Very good!”

It’s a late summer day and the whole village is toiling away in the fields. Well orchestrated, they harvest the crops in harmony; all rather idyllic under the calm, clear skies. That is until a demon makes its presence in the form of an old warplane, filling the sky with the most tremendous rumble and turning it from calm blue to a dispiriting inky grey. A bomb is released as the villagers watch on in terror, and before their eyes it takes a ghastly transformation into a crow, landing atop Ye’s house with delicate footing and a deadly screech.  He clutches his chest and falls to the ground, exhausted and limp. He has caught the king’s breath.

Now the journey of a lifetime must begin. The only person able to help him is Incredible Miranda the Healer, or the “old witch” as she’s more locally known. The only items to help him along his way are a poster of the healer and a single black feather dropped by the crow.

The artwork is textured and delicate, with so many glorious little details you will want to spend a few extra moments poring over the pages to let your eyes drink in everything they have to offer. Though the (somewhat dreadful, frankly) cover doesn’t allude to it, the lines and colour palette within are far softer and embracing.


In terms of breadth of storytelling I was reminded of Isabel Greenberg’s THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH; also with the artwork inside and costume designs, but particularly with the poster of Miranda the Witch.

Though small in size, this is a story that packs a punch. Younger readers will be swept away by Ye’s epic adventures through crowded cities, pirate-riddled oceans, and even a tundra that an eccentric clown calls home. While more mature readers will see Ye’s adventures for what they really are. On the surface, a journey for the ages to be loved by all, but just below is a powerful tale of a personal battle against something dark and intangible.

“The Colourless King exists inside all of us, slumbering”

And we will not be defined by our demons.


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

Love & Rockets: Is This How You See Me? h/c (£17-99, Fantagraphics) by Jaime Hernandez…

“Part of me hopes he’ll never know about any of it nor all the other stupid crap I’ve done in my life.”
“None of us is perfect, Espy… I believe a person has a right to keep parts of their life to themselves if it doesn’t hurt loved ones… but also so it doesn’t hurt loved ones… something that remains your own even when… even when…”
“When you move on? I’ll buy that.”

Except many of us can’t move on and we’re still buying it.

LOVE AND ROCKETS, that is! I could try and explain more, but actually the Fantagraphics hypewriter has pretty much perfectly captured the essence of this bittersweet comics symphony. So I’ll simply let them introduce what has already become one of my favourite ever LnR stories…

“In IS THIS HOW YOU SEE ME?, Maggie and Hopey get the band back together – literally. Now middle-aged, they leave their significant others at home and take a weekend road trip to reluctantly attend a punk rock reunion in their old neighbourhood.



The present is masterfully threaded with a flashback set in 1979, during the very formative stages in Maggie and Hopey’s lifelong friendship, as the perceived invincibility of youth is expertly juxtaposed against all of the love, heartbreak, and self-awareness that comes with lives actually lived.

The result is no sentimental victory lap, however – this is one of the great writers of literary fiction at the peak of his powers, continuing to scale new heights as an artist. Hernandez’s acclaimed ongoing comics series LOVE AND ROCKETS has entertained readers for over 35 years, and his beloved characters – Maggie, Hopey, Ray, Doyle, Daffy, Mike Tran, and so many others – have become fully realized literary creations.

IS THIS HOW YOU SEE ME? collects Hernandez’s latest interconnected vignettes, serialized over the past four years in Love and Rockets, into a long-form masterpiece for the first time.”

Quite so, for this truly is a masterpiece. Just for the record, this collects material from LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES VOLS 7 & 8 and LOVE AND ROCKETS VOL IV #1 – #5.



If, like me, you’ve kept an affection for Maggie, Hopey and all the other Locas over years, despite my attention inevitably wandering due to the ever-burgeoning output of other wonderful comics out there and also the at times substantial intervals between new LnR material, I think you’ll find this collection both the perfect retrospective and reacquaintance with our chums, young and old versions alike.

Like in THE LOVE BUNGLERS, I found the flashback sequences immensely poignant, with the sheer boundless, buzzing chaotic energy of our characters, especially Maggie and Hopey, (well definitely Hopey!) as kids in stark contrast to the world weary middle-aged versions, sharing their hard won wisdom and reflecting upon how the hell they all ended up where they are. There’s one touching moment in particular that almost had me reaching for my hankie…

Set against the backdrop of a reunion road trip that is just as disastrously action-packed as any of their early escapades, I found myself chuckling at my – and their – subsequent wry realisation that perhaps they hadn’t changed that much after all.



Jaime is indeed, like brother Gilbert (MARBLE SEASON / BUMPERHEAD / HIGH SOFT LISP / LOVERBOYS / THE TROUBLEMAKERS), seemingly only getting better and better as a writer. Artistically, well, you know what you’re going to get, and that is fine. As good an illustrator as Jaime is, especially in capturing his characters’ emotions (and in young Hopey’s case histrionics), it is his storytelling that keeps us coming back time after time. And we will keep doing so as long as he keeps writing! Pretty sure there’s some serious mileage to be had in pensioner Locas!


Buy Love & Rockets: Is This How You See Me? h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Strangers In Paradise XXV vol 2: Hide And Seek s/c (£14-50, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore.

“Who controls the past controls the future.
“Who controls the present controls the past.”

 – George Orwell

Who controls the future here remains to be seen.

Previously in STRANGERS IN PARADISE (the Omnibus review is ever so slightly expansive):

Katchoo and Francine have endured the vicious repercussions of Katchoo’s tarnished past – which have come back to curtail their present and so threaten their future – successfully enough against all adversarial odds, to settle down and carve themselves a blissful, tranquil family life with their two daughters in a really rather swish villa strategically sequestered in the middle of nowhere.

It is idyllic!

Then STRANGERS IN PARADISE XXV vol 1 kicks off.



To ensure her family’s safety, Katchoo finds herself racing frantically across the globe from the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the remotest jungles of Colombia. Unfortunately, she’s left Francine and the girls terrifyingly vulnerable in the supposed sanctuary of their home.



All the weathers are here, both hot and humid and freezing with snow which Moore draws so eye-blindingly well, plus the sort of cliff-leaping, all-out action that you’d expect from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.




By now, however, long-term Terry Moore fans will have noticed his various storylines merging, incorporating characters and plot points from previous series MOTOR GIRL, RACHEL RISING and ECHO.

They’re rekindled here to kick off the next series – imminently and ominously – in FIVE YEARS #1 and FIVE YEARS #2 which will automatically be distributed to those signed up at Page 45 for SiP.

For, as I say, who controls the future remains to be seen.

We only have five years left.

Five years left until what…?


Buy Strangers In Paradise XXV vol 2: Hide And Seek s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Jesusfreak h/c (£15-99, Image) by Joe Casey & Benjamin Marra…

“You… have my gratitude, beast thing.”
“Is that so? Have you suddenly experienced some profound new revelation?”
“Maybe I have. Now… look in my eyes. Tell me… what do you see?”


“Ghuh! Well played. Perhaps you are the blessed one.”

If you ever found yourself in a troubling situation pondering the classic moral imperative “What would Jesus do?” it’s probably fair to say, it would not be what Joe Casey and Benjamin Marra have the mild-mannered, cheek-turning, betrayal-forgiving, enemy-loving peacenik proto-hippy doing.


For their righteous Jesus is more son of a gun than Son of God. I mean, he’s that as well, kind of, it’s just he’s more of a New Testament sword of justice kinda guy. With added kung fu. And he really does have a sword and he’s not afraid to use it.

Because… well why not? He’s the ass-kicking, face-punching, head-lopping action hero saviour the masses need. Apparently!




Here is the sermon from the publishers to tell you about the righteous damnation this bad-ass bible basher is going to rain down on your heads if you don’t all start behaving yourself. But first, can I get a hallelujah? No? How about a punch in the face then? Done!

“The year is 26 C.E. A young Nazarean carpenter is having some trouble adjusting to the violent world around him-and finding his place within it. He knows he’s different, but he doesn’t know why. Not yet, anyway. A bloody, two-fisted tale of historical heroic fiction brought to you by Joe SEX, BUTCHER BAKER / THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER / MCMLXXV Casey and Benjamin NIGHT BUSINESS / TERROR ASSAULTER / O.M.W.O.T. Marra.”



Fans of classic hack slash material such as Roy Thomas’ SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN (and by the way, Jason Aaron’s new CONAN and Gerry Dugan’s SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN are both really excellent, capturing the flavour of the original material perfectly) and the ‘70s era THE HANDS OF SHANG CHAI: MASTER OF KUNG FU will absolutely love this. It’s as pulpy as a battered bad guy’s head after some serious beat down action.



It does try to do a little more than viscerally entertain, through senselessly sensual violence, sure, hey this is Jesus after all, but I won’t spoil where they take the character because Jesus’s voyage of self-discover here is half the farcical fun.

Art-wise, Casey has picked a perfect foil in the form of Marra, who’s scathing, satirical ONE MAN WAR ON TERROR material figuratively and literally takes no prisoners itself, and here once more he unleashes his trademark relentless graphic brutality upon our sensibilities almost daring us to blaspheme against his character’s credo of cruel justice. Tough love baby, that’s what the Jesusfreak is dispensing. Take it or leave it.



On that point, I can’t see many committed Christians enjoying this, but if you’ve half a sense of humour and enjoy seeing the desecration of one of the most pious dudes ever to walk the earth purely for your reading pleasure, dispensing proverbial psalms of pain, then this is sequential art soul food just for you.

And errr… me… Amen.


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

We’ve Found  More Copies!

Guardians Of The Louvre h/c (UK Edition) (£17-99, Fanfare / Ponent Mon) by Jiro Taniguchi.

“Just look at those lines!”

This gasp is elicited by the sight of the glass Pyramid with its astonishing steel struts which rises within the vast courtyard of the Louvre, not so much taking up space but informing it, redefining it, refining it.

It made me laugh, for my eyes had been wide in similar, awe-struck astonishment for each of the nine previous pages, wondering how Taniguchi could make so much even of railings, diverging with precision from a vanishing point on the Parisian skyline without looking at all clinical but tactile and pocked with pits.

We’ve been admiring Taniguchi’s elegant lines every since the original publication of THE WALKING MAN then made A DISTANT NEIGHBOURHOOD a Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month, but this is the first time the English-speaking world has been blessed with a fully distributed commercial graphic novel of his in full colour. And oh, the colour!

You could spend hours looking at the opening page alone, mesmerised not just by Jiro’s panorama, but what he’s done with the folds of the faun-coloured jacket and the drains of the metal slats beneath the protagonist’s feet and the shadow those legs and feet cast over that walkway.



When our lone Japanese artist visits Auvers-sur-Oise for a day’s pilgrimage to the final resting place of Vincent Van Gogh we will see what Taniguchi can do with vast, verdant fields transected by dry, sunlit tracks, then big bushy trees, clipped lawns and cornfields. But it is the architecture that amazes the most both there and while wandering both inside and outside the Louvre in Paris.

There are so many panels of delicate detail gazing up or looking down over the rooftops which capture the semi-relief I adore so much in window ledges and eves, casting just so much shadow over the creamy stone. Window boxes boast a dappling of foliage and trees dangle leaves over walls along the banks of the Seine.



Paris is a city designed so that wherever you are you can see over, under and through it ever since Haussmann raised and rebuilt it in the mid-19th Century, giving any pedestrian a very real sense of where they are, wherever they are. Taniguchi so evidently relishes that sense of space and conveys it so successfully one feels as if one’s wondering a couple of steps behind him, beside him, luxuriating in the early summer light.

Once the cultural traveller’s inside the museum, that space is no less in evidence. The Baroque majesty of some of the grand arches and Corinthian columns towering above white stone steps and organic, wrought iron banisters is evoked with perfectly chosen perspective. So many galleries are drawn in meticulous detail including each individual painting housed within, and without his fellow tourists to block our view, it is enough to make the heart and soul soar. How has Taniguchi contrived that we – and our protagonist – might see it so?




Well, it’s all a little fanciful, to say the least, but that made me smile too.

A Japanese artist arrives in Paris following an international comics festival in Barcelona – since he’d come all that way. But the stress of the festival combined with an inability to get over the initial jetlag has played havoc with his immune system and for a whole day he lies shivering, bed-ridden.

“I come to feel somehow light-headed and strange. Suddenly alarming thoughts go through my head, like maybe I’ll just die here like this.”

He awakes the next morning dripping in sweat but, determined to make the most of even a minor recovery, he saunters out onto the streets. One omelette later and invigorated by caffeine, the man makes his way down narrow streets and broad boulevards to spend the first of three days in the Louvre. It is, of course, pullulating with fellow sight-seers which make him dizzy so, once down the escalators, he decides to split off from the hordes and heads towards the antiquities of Ancient Greece and Rome – the Denon Wing on the lower ground floor – only to suffer a relapse. His head swimming, he falls to the floor, the world around him exploding with colour as the statues dissolve into amorphous, floating shapes…



When he comes to, the museum is deserted save for a woman dressed in the palest of pinks, her hair tied back into an elaborate bundle of buns. She will be his guide through the Louvre, as the artist experiences some extraordinary visions and even more remarkable encounters along with an unexpected moment of personal closure.

Everything else redacted!



Yes, this is an English-language graphic novel. I just needed to glean some images from France!


Buy Guardians Of The Louvre h/c (UK Edition) and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

New reviews to follow, but if they’re new formats of previous books, reviews may already be up; others will retain their Diamond previews information we receive displayed as ‘Publisher Blurb’.

Leaving Richard’s Valley (£22-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Michael DeForge

Clyde Fans h/c Box Set Slipcase Edition (£42-00, Drawn & Quarterly) by Seth

Men At Sea s/c (£22-99, Dead Reckoning) by Riff Reb’s

Strangers In Paradise XXV Omnibus h/c (£35-99, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore

Strangers In Paradise XXV Omnibus s/c (£26-99, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore

Tales From The Hidden Valley vol 3: The Band (£12-99, Flying Eye) by Carles Porta

When I Arrived At The Castle (£13-99, Koyama Press) by Emily Carroll

Catwoman vol 1: Copycats s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Joelle Jones & Joelle Jones, Fernando Blanco

Nightwing vol 7: The Bleeding Edge s/c (£16-99, DC) by Benjamin Percy & various

Planet Hulk (UK Edition) s/c (£24-99, Marvel) by Greg Pak & Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti, others

Star Wars vol 10: Escape (£15-99, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Andrea Broccardo, Angel Unzueta

Memoirs Of A Book Thief h/c (£14-99, Self Made Hero) by A. Tota & P. Van Hove

Attack On Titan vol 27 (£9-99, Kodansha) by Hajime Isayama

Candy Color Paradox vol 1 (£8-99, Sublime) by Isaku Natsume

Goblin Slayer vol 1 (£11-99, Kodansha) by Kumo Kagyu & Kousuke Kurose

Goblin Slayer vol 2 (£11-99, Kodansha) by Kumo Kagyu & Kousuke Kurose

Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews April 2019 week one

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Featuring Carolyn Nowak, Carles Porta, Tadd Galusha, Fabien Nury, Bruno, Evan Dorkin, Benjamin Dewey, Julian Glander and more.

Girl Town (£17-99, Top Shelf) by Carolyn Nowak ~

“When we moved in here my dad bought me a housewarming gift – a huge print of Rembrandt’s ‘Abduction of Europa’.
“I sort of think he wanted me to see the anxiety in Europa’s soft face as Jupiter in his bull suit carries her away from land.
“Two days after I hung the poster up I saw Betsy for the first time.
“And angry.”

This is Betsy adorning the cover; climbing out of a sewer, manhole cover askew, half dressed with arms braced in an aggressive posture, shouting something angrily at the viewer. This is Girl Town, and this is her turf.

It’s a fantastic cover and a great choice of opening story, with its unconventional cast of bitches who despite their ongoing turf war (culminating in the sacrifice of a beloved sock puppet) are all best friends beneath it all. But don’t be fooled, as this is also a clever moment of misdirection, for within the pages of GIRL TOWN are five tender stories of crushes, infatuations, broken hearts and self-discovery.

‘Radishes’ features best friends Kelly, confident and boisterous, and Beth, soft and shy, having a fun day out at the market that will stay with both of them for many years to come. Diana has been badly hurt in ‘Diana’s Electric Tongue’ and decides to invest in a life-size human robot to help cope with a broken heart. But my favourite, as difficult as it was to pick from these cleverly constructed tales of intimacy, is the ending story ‘Please Sleep Over, in which Jess is simply trying to understand her place within life.



GIRL TOWN is a triumph of stories centred round the complexities of relationships and the intimacy of self-discovery. Above all, these are girls searching for understanding and connection, and if you’re anything like me, you will find yourself connecting with each and every one of them. As I finished the stories in turn, I wanted to gently embrace each of the girls with a familiar knowing hug, for these are girls in places we have all found ourselves at some point or other in our lives.



Nowak’s cast of characters come with the same level of variety and tenderness as Mariko and Jillian THIS ONE SUMMER Tamaki and Jen PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER Wang, while her stories embrace the slightly absurdist fantasy humour of Noelle NIMONA Stevenson – hardly surprising that she has also worked on LUMBERJANES (!) Her art reminded me very much of the rounded cartooning of Ben YOUR BLACK FRIEND Passmore, with added softness, enveloped in pastel colours.


Buy Girl Town and read the Page 45 review here

Tales From The Hidden Valley vol 2: Hello, Mister Cold (£12-99, Flying Eye Books) by Carles Porta…

“Maximillian Cold was a child of the richest, most ambitious, coldest family in town. To his family’s horror, young Maxi wanted to be a musician. He adored playing the trumpet.

“Driven away by his father and his siblings, he joined The Band. It was all going quite well until he decided to play a bit of TINC-BLIN-TUT.

“The band leader didn’t think this was a good idea at all, and Maxi was fired on the spot.”

Clearly the band leader needs to broaden his musical horizons! I love me some TINC-BLIN-TUT! And TUT-FANN-BOO and even a bit of TEEP-BOON-KISH! But poor young Max’s penchant for striking syncopated sounds is going to cause him to wander even deeper astray into the musical wilds than he could possibly ever imagine, on a weird, wintery adventure that will feature a most peculiar and petrified audience indeed.



Let’s hear the publisher plinky plonk some scored notes out that will enchant all those of you who have been avidly waiting for this second seasonal composition, following on from the opening sonata that was the leaf-sweepingly autumnal THE TALES FROM THE HIDDEN VALLEY VOL 1: THE ARTISTS.

“Bundle up and get ready to spend the long winter with the charming creatures in Carles Porta’s enchanting Hidden Valley. It’s winter now in the hidden valley, and Maximus Cold has fallen into the valley, completely by mistake. Everyone thinks he’s a strange, trumpet-playing monster who has kidnapped our wolf friend Yula!

One can only hope that the gang of friends, including the rabbits, Reindeer, the pixie onion-headed ballerina, and Yula’s best friend Sara can save the day with some trumpeting of their own.



Dive into Carles Porta’s elaborate world of enchanting, snowy forests and mysterious music and meet all the charming creatures of the Valley along the way.”

First off, yes, Yula is back! Our lupine loonytune once again manages to clumsily collide herself into a comedic situation that’s going to cause much consternation in the Valley. Happily for Yula, and indeed Mr. Maximillian Cold, the denizens of the disguised dale are on hand to confuse matters further… I mean help sort the situation out and ensure a happy ending!

As with the first volume, whilst the offbeat story certainly greatly amuses and enchants with its curious setup and quirky characters, the art then gracefully elevates this to another level entirely. The sense of movement Carles Porta engenders in his exquisite illustrations is just remarkable. And even though this time around everyone is well wrapped up against the grey and white chilly weather he’s not spared the colour palette, going to town on everyone’s scarves and jackets! There’s some seriously flashy winter fashion on show in the Valley!



I think that Carles Porta must somehow have direct access to the fertile imaginations of small children because these works seem to capture the riotously fun madness that lies within their little heads just so perfectly. I think he’s an extremely talented creator and all I can say is roll on spring time with HAPPY VALLEY VOL 3, sub-titled THE BAND, which might just give a teensy-weeny little clue away as to what the note-perfect happy ending in question to this volume might be…


Buy Tales From The Hidden Valley vol 2: Hello, Mister Cold and read the Page 45 review here

Tyler Cross: Angola h/c (£21-99, Titan) by Fabien Nury & Bruno…

“Tyler Cross regains consciousness in the dark. Right where he wanted to be – safe in the sweatbox.
“His wounds will heal. The Sicilians will back off for now.
“He has time to sleep, to think.
“All is good.”

Not entirely sure I would call having just narrowly escaped assassination by plucking a Mafia’s boss’s eyes out with a spoon, getting battered by guards, receiving thirty lashes from a lunatic insanely angry at the fact you’re not going to be bribing him anymore, before getting thrown in the sweatbox for several days ‘good’.

But then fortunately I’m not Tyler Cross…



Here is the rap sheet from the publisher to tell you why Tyler’s doing seriously hard, dangerous time in one of America’s most infamous prisons…

“Nury and Brüno (TYLER CROSS: BLACK ROCK) return to their noir antihero Tyler Cross in this ongoing European import series. In 1947, professional criminal Cross ends up on the wrong end of a supposedly risk-free job and finds himself a prisoner in Louisiana’s Angola State Farms.

The festering hellhole is mercilessly dictated over by sadistic warden Captain Kroeker and his small army of brutal guards, bolstered by a quartet of man-eating attack dogs – “Anyone thinking about running… me and my babies love hunting”.



The inmates’ days are a back-breaking tapestry of chain gang slave labour, where the slightest infraction results in torturous beatings and sometimes outright murder. Tough guy Cross stands a better chance than most, but among the inmates are Sicilian mafiosi whose boss has a hit out on him for a mysterious past betrayal.

While enduring ongoing trials and many plot twists, including the prisoners’ sexual exploitation by the warden’s wife with taciturn grit, Cross begins to plot an escape, made seemingly impossible by the prison’s remote location.



Nury and Brüno deliver a taut script and stark, moody artwork rendered in black, blue, and searchlight yellows. As intricately woven as the first instalment, this brutal, cool series remains recommended reading for crime thriller enthusiasts.”

That’s actually a really great synopsis and brief summation of the merits of the book. Perhaps the blurb writer has missed his calling as a trial lawyer. But seriously, nice to see a hype writer nailing it down so perfectly for us like a mafia stooge hammering someone’s tootsies into schnitzel.

I absolutely loved this pulpy lump of period noir crime. I’ll have to confess I haven’t read the first volume, but I’m certainly going to now. The blurb for that volume states “operating in a similar vein to Richard Stark’s classic Parker crime novels, the reader roots for the bad guy while being kept aware that he’s a vicious piece of work” and again, that sums up perfectly how I feel about Tyler Cross.



As a massive fan of Darwyn Cooke’s PARKER adaptations I can truly say that Tyler Crook is a stand up guy who more than measures up to the Don of master criminals himself in Parker. Story-wise Fabien Nury ensures you will indeed find yourself rooting for the hardass with a heart, not least because nearly everyone else in the story is such a complete unmitigated bastard!

Art-wise, whilst it would be nigh-on impossible for someone to match Cooke’s PARKER work, which is just utterly exquisite in every conceivable way, I have to say Bruno is bloody brilliant. He also captures that period feel perfectly, and the point of comparison style-wise I’m going to make, which given the dapper nature of the creator himself is not entirely inappropriate, would be Seth. Though this further benefits from a limited but intensely menacing colour palette. In fact, I had to check the silhouetted head on the front endpapers wasn’t drawn by Seth. Why it would be I have no idea, but anyway.

Let’s be honest, everyone likes seeing a bad guy trapped in an impossible situation. Just look at how much fun it is watching Theresa May having the ultimate bad one day in, day out right now! The only difference being that whilst I’d happily see Theresa May rot in a hell hole forever, I was desperate for Tyler Cross to escape…


Buy Tyler Cross: Angola h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Cretaceous (£13-99, Oni Press Inc.) by Tadd Galusha…

“When a Tyrannosaurus Rex is separated from its family unit, it embarks on a harrowing journey to reunite with them before the raw, real dangers of the Cretaceous Era separate them for good. This heart-wrenching story takes to the skies and dives into the sea-and explores everywhere in between in this research-based, fictional account written and illustrated by Tadd Galusha.”

Readers of a certain age – practically the Jurassic, it was that long ago – may well remember Ricardo Delgado’s hugely imaginative and impressively illustrated AGE OF REPTILES, a wordless feeding frenzy of T Rex and Velociraptors working their way down the frightened food chain like someone offered free happy meals for life at the local burger joint. If you’re not entirely fossilised by now under the weight of much collapsed Cambrian canopy and do happen to vaguely remember loving that, well, look no further, you will love this.



Actually, you should also look at the excellent fourth instalment of Frederic Brremaud & Federico Bertolucci’s wordless wildlife watch that is LOVE: THE DINOSAUR.

Artistically, though, this has much more in common with Ricardo Delgado’s material, even down to the startled expressions on the panicky dino-faces as a huge predator comes crashing through the bushes not remotely fussed about their side-order of fries and milk shake.



I’m pleased the publisher clarified this was a fictional account, though, as I was starting to wonder whether Tadd had access to a time machine like the classic dinosaur farming catastrophe from the pages of 2000AD that was simply titled FLESH.

Anyway… in terms of showcasing the livestock of the epoch we really do get an up close and personal tour of practically all the animals alive at the time. I think even David Attenborough would be impressed at how many Tadd manages to fit in! Though there certainly aren’t quite so many left alive by the end…



The silent storytelling is excellent, again certainly comparable to AGE OF REPTILES, you have a real sense of being the proverbial prehistoric fly on the wall watching in. Though obviously there were no walls at the time and even if there were the flies would have been so huge they would have probably knocked them straight over…

So if, in summary, you fancy a second course of dinosaur dietary delights or indeed simply wish to sample a degustation of dinosaur dainties for the very first time please just tuck in. Even vegetarians like myself are certain to enjoy…


Buy Cretaceous and read the Page 45 review here

Beasts Of Burden: Wise Dogs & Eldritch Men h/c (£20-99, Dark Horse) by Evan Dorkin & Benjamin Dewey…

“Don’t puff your chest out too far. We knew Tommy was an imposter. Just like we knew we walking into a trap.”
“That true, Tommy? Did they know that?”
“We are called wise dogs, you know. Not daft dogs.”

The conjuring canines return in their most stressfully horrific adventure yet as Evan Dorkin once again puts our favourite pack of man’s best friends – and protectors from mystic malfeasance – through their paces before awarding the top prizes for perilous prestidigitation.

Or something like that… I think I might have eaten one too many dog biscuits…


Here is the pedigree from the publisher to bark out a more balanced breeding report…

“This eight-time Eisner Award-winning comic book series blending fantasy and humour features the adventures of paranormal pets investigating the horrors of Burden Hill. A heroic pack of canines known as the Wise Dogs sets off on a mission to clean up a Pennsylvania corridor plagued by seemingly unrelated occult disturbances that include a fire salamander and a horde of mutant lurkers.



A link is found among the various disturbances, leading our heroes to a mountain village inhabited by a survivalist witch-cult who have discovered the existence of a ‘Blood Lure’ attracting occult forces, creatures, and many more terrors to Burden Hill!”



As genuinely horrific as the likes of Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY and BPRD material to my mind, and certainly just as well written, this verges on truly psychologically disturbing terror in places, but also has many moments of canine-based charm and black humour that won’t come as any surprise to fans of Evan’s other works such as DORK and THE ELTINGVILLE CLUB.

Benjamin Dewey picks up the paints this time around, and perhaps one of the biggest compliments I can give him is that I didn’t actually realise it wasn’t Jill Thompson for ages.



For a much more in-depth review of the first volume – which you don’t have to read before this one, but you really ought to read it anyway as it is utterly brilliant – please see Stephen going the full Barbara Woodhouse on BEASTS OF BURDEN: ANIMALS RITES which is now out in softcover.

WALKIES!!! To the till of course!


Buy Beasts Of Burden: Wise Dogs & Eldritch Men h/c and read the Page 45 review here

3D Sweeties h/c (£22-99, Fantagraphics) by Julian Glander…

“Listen… I have a confession… I’m not actually a dog. I just have a weird face.”
“You… you lied to me?”
“I didn’t have the heart to tell you the truth. You were having such a good time.”
“That’s… the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

Purple slime mold “A” (let’s call them “A” because I don’t know their name, or indeed very much about them, other than they seem a bit dim) has clearly had a tough life, if that’s truly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for them. But then, I don’t really know much about the life of slime molds of any colour… Although I can’t imagine it is a particularly pleasant existence perpetually having chemicals poured into you before having them forcibly popped out of you again.

Anyway… why don’t we let the publisher see if they can plop something out which will make more sense of this squidgy-coated manic mess of mirthful material.

“Hilariously absurd stories set in a digital, pastel-hued universe, crafted by one of the most original artists working in animation, video games, and gifs. Glander’s debut collection of comics assembles the best of his thoroughly original short stories, which originally appeared online on sites such as VICE.

Set on a three-dimensional plane, Glander’s stories feature cute, emoji-like characters who deal with twenty-first-century (and beyond!) problems like interior decorating woes, amorous microbiology, and where to find the absolute most aspirational succulents.



Fall in love with ‘America’s favorite mug,’ Cuppy.



Hear the familial bickering of sentient purple slime molds. Encounter Susan Something and her unusual attitudes about gaming culture and conceptual art. But most of all, marvel at the playful, absurd look into our online lives that is 3D Sweeties, a book that looks and reads like no comic ever created before.”

Bit hyperbolic, that last clause, but I’ll let it slide over me like a slippery slime surprise as this is indeed rather good fun. It is certainly hilariously absurd, by which I mean the humour is certainly not straightforward gag material and I don’t believe it will appeal to everyone.



Some of the stories have considerable nuance, depth and satirical social commentary going on, but you will also need to appreciate completely pointless stupidity to get the most out of this, otherwise it might leave you slightly cold, like a bucket of slime tipped down your trousers…

Okay, I will stop with the slime gags now.

Once you’ve opened the satisfyingly squashy, spongy cover, the art, which takes bright and vibrant to whole new levels, will punch you straight in the face. Clearly produced on a computer, which I guess if you are one of “the most original artists working in animation” shouldn’t be a total surprise, this has the madcap feel of the likes of the Gumball cartoon, though weirdly it also reminded me of dear old plasticine Morph as well. You almost feel like the characters are going to start moving inside the panels. Well, I did, anyway! Meanwhile the colour palette is like a smashed up packet of Refreshers. I’ll just leave you with that image… <slime drop>


Buy 3D Sweeties h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Defenders: The Best Defense s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Al Ewing, Chip Zdarsky, Gerry Duggan, Jason Latour & Simone Di Meo, Carlos Magno, Greg Smallwood…

“And NOW… knock, knock.”
“Hnh. Who’s there?”

I’ll let the publisher answer that question!

“Doctor Strange! The Hulk! Namor the Sub-Mariner! The Silver Surfer! An unsolvable murder. An aquatic doorway to nothingness. A wanderer at the end of time. And a cosmic train of planetary proportions. Four seemingly unrelated events that will require the powers and insights of the greatest non-team of all.

Only they can connect the dots and challenge the strange power behind these disconnected happenings before all of reality pays the price! But Doctor Strange is…dead? Namor has declared war on the surface world! The Surfer once more serves Galactus! And the Hulk is…Immortal! Estranged and distressed can these former allies come together in time to stave off a crisis of cosmic proportions? Don’t call them a team – call them the Defenders! Collecting IMMORTAL HULK: DEFENDERS, NAMOR: DEFENDERS, DOCTOR STRANGE: DEFENDERS, SILVER SURFER: DEFENDERS and DEFENDERS: THE BEST DEFENSE.”

Well, good to see the hype writer can connect the full stops and exclamation marks, if not actually use any commas. That was all a bit breathless, wasn’t it? I wonder if the Hulk was sitting on them?



Anyway, a rare-ish review for a supes book purely because I really rather enjoyed this. I can still remember the “Whaddya Mean, Non-Team?” proclamation on the front cover of my Marvel UK Weekly reprint of THE DEFENDERS #1. I must have read that issue a million times. That original run of THE DEFENDERS which went on to feature various other characters and get pretty weird in places indeed (the elf with a gun, anyone…?) was a genuine classic run.

So it was with my nostalgia head on that I gave this a whirl and whilst it is certainly no HAWKEYE or MISTER MIRACLE, the talented team of writers and artists involved such as Al Ewing who’s IMMORTAL HULK is my pick of the current Marvel books, make this self-contained yarn a real fun romp that will appeal to old school fans and new ones alike.



It’s a relay race of a story that passes from character to character rather than a traditional collective team-up, I guess staying true to the original non-team ethos that thus allows each writer to give their particular character their full turn in the (Marvel) spotlight.



Yes, of course, things start to overlap and intertwine with the obligatory bickering that was also a hallmark of the early Defenders material but as a whole it is perfectly well written tights-and-capes tomfoolery that tickled my nostalgia funny bone in just the right way.


Buy Defenders: The Best Defense s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy!

New reviews to follow, but if they’re new formats of previous books, reviews may already be up; others will retain their Diamond previews information we receive displayed as ‘Publisher Blurb’.

A Mouse Called Julian h/c (£11-99, Flying Eye Books) by Joe Todd-Stanton

Gamayun Tales vol 3: Tanya Of The Lake (£12-99, Nobrow) by Alexander Utkin

Stray Bullets – Sunshine & Roses vol 4: The Salad Days (£17-99, Image) by David Lapham

Love & Rockets: Is This How You See Me? h/c  (£17-99, Fantagraphics) by Jaime Hernandez

Deconstructing The Metabarons h/c (£18-99, Humanoids) by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Christophe Quillien & Juan Gimenez

Egg Cream vol 1 s/c (£10-99, Czap Books / Silver Sprocket) by Liz Suburbia

Guardians Of The Louvre h/c (UK Edition) (£17-99, Fanfare / Ponent Mon) by Jiro Taniguchi

Jesusfreak h/c (£15-99, Image) by Joe Casey & Benjamin Marra

Sandman vol 6: Fables & Reflections (30th Anniversary Ed’n) (£14-99, Vertigo) by Neil Gaiman & Bryan Talbot, P. Craig Russell, Kent Williams, Jill Thompson, Stan Woch, Shawn McManus, John Watkiss, Duncan Eagleson

Tyler Cross: Black Rock h/c (£21-99, Titan) by Fabien Nury & Bruno

Ye s/c (£17-99, Top Shelf) by Guilherme Petreca

Batman: Detective Comics vol 9: Deface The Face s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by James Robinson & Stephen Segovia, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Stephen Segovia

Teen Titans vol 1 (actually vol 4): Full Throttle s/c (Rebirth) (£14-99, DC) by Adam Glass & Bernard Chang, Robson Rocha with Scott Hanna

Marvel Universe: The End s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Jim Starlin

Bloodborne vol 2: Healing Thirst s/c (£13-99, Titan) by Ales Kot & Piotr Kowalski

20th Century Boys Perfect Edition vol 3 (£12-99, Viz) by Naoki Urasawa

Blame! – The Electrofishers’ Escape (Movie Edition) (£11-99, Vertical Comics) by Tsutomu Nihei & Koutarou Sekine

Goblin Slayer vol 3 (£9-99, Yen Press) by Kumo Kagyu & Kousuke Kurose