Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews July 2019 week one

Featuring Ryan O’Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, Molly Mendoza, Ryan Andrews, Gou Tanabe, Scott Jason Smith, Patrick Wirbeleit & Uwe Heidschotter, Stan Lee, John Romita Sr

Skip h/c (£16-99, Nobrow) by Molly Mendoza.

“I promised I would be brave.
“I did everything Bee taught me.
“I tended to things just as they would have…
“But they still haven’t come back.”

If this cover of colour swirling and churning in deep slate-blue waters suggests to you that a sensory explosion may lie ahead, then your eyes and imagination have not deceived you. Multiple metamorphoses, here we come!

It conjures memories of playing with plasticine before most of the colours had become so completely merged that the whole was rendered a solid taupe. On the cover bright strains still resonate.

Similarly inside there’s a full-page spread with the consistency of slippery wet clay in which Bloom’s forehead and big, lost eyes are dispersed in an aqueous shimmer, like cutting clean through that same ball of plasticine – much further down the line towards its inevitable mud-brown composite when communally shared at infant school – with a very sharp knife to reveal its remaining, less vivid veins in cross-section. It’s a fluid, silky effect, at any rate.



Adjust your focus, and it’s actually Bee rowing away, leaving Bloom all alone on the shore of the lake, the ripples in Bee’s wake disquieting Bloom’s young mind.

Bloom has been living on the lake, under Bee’s protection and tutelage, for as long as Bloom can remember. Their simple, tranquil, shared routine is one of fishing by boat and foraging for root vegetables and eggs. Milk and cheese are a thing of the past; Bee remembers them, but Bloom’s never tasted them. It’s possible that they might find some in the city across the water but Bee insists that it’s not worth the risk.

“It’s dangerous that way, and people aren’t going to be as nice as you and me.
“When everything comes apart like it did all those years ago… well, your heart can’t help but come apart too.”



But what once came apart – a battered old radio in their fire-lit camp – has now been fixed and crackles unexpectedly one night into life. It’s a desperate mayday message speaking of hunger and fear and it comes with specific coordinates. It’s a message which Bee cannot in all good conscience ignore…

The early scenes are rich in comforting warm earth colours, the close bond between the two – one which really should not be broken – borne out by the tenderness with which Bee cups Bloom’s head in strong, huge hands, then clasps their charge closer.



Yet separate they must, however reluctantly, as in the beginning of Shaun Tan’s THE ARRIVAL, and Bloom’s left alone to stand on the smooth-pebbled shore, watching out across the lake, idly skimming stones, day after day, dusk after dawn, until they can take it no more. In absent-minded frustration, Bloom snatches at the neck-strung amulet with which they were solemnly entrusted, and hurls it after the other stones.



Aghast in an instant at the terrible mistake, Bloom dives desperately after the prized possession and a new bright red of alarm materialises in the whirlpool depths, fish eyes enlarge impossibly, the amulet is glimpsed, and the pebbles become boulders between which Bloom is lost!

Forms abstract themselves.

Stronger colours coalesce.

Panels within panels emanate ever outwards.

And suddenly we’re somewhere else entirely…



It’s time to meet Gloopy instead.

Gloopy very much resembles the Addams Family’s Cousin It. Only with eyes, nose, mouth, a baseball cap, and legs you can actually see.

“Who are you? Is that some sort of grass camouflage you’re wearing?”
“No! This just me.”

It’s an easy mistake to make.

Gloopy lives in a sunshine-yellow, rolling rural paradise whose shadows are cast in deep purple. There are gigantic mushrooms, vast, gnarled trees with twisted bases, and the occasional redundant wooden fence. The community of artists are approaching the Great Harvest, celebrated by cultivating their finest crops to create a feast in the Garden in honour of the inspirational moon, under the leadership of Capman.

Gloopy’s happy to help but finds any unauthorised, individual creative efforts irritably dismissed and, distracted, Gloopy’s frustration leads to impetuousness which leads to their whole endeavour going up in smoke.

“It’s been days and they still won’t talk to me!
“I could make a statue out of grass? But they probably wouldn’t like it.
“Or surprise Pip with an aquatic dance? No… Pip hates surprises.
“Maybe offer Oom some mushrooms? But they would never snack on the job.
“The way they all look at me… it’s unbearable.
“I wish I could just disappear.”

At which point Bloom bursts upwards from out of the flowering grassland, as if diving upwards out of water, still grasping for the amulet ahead!



What follows is a friendship which forms through adversity, but both their friendship and adventure prove as turbulent as the cover and the morphing doorways to different dimensions suggest.

For Bloom and Gloopy are two very different individuals who come from disparate emotional starting points: Gloopy desires above all to escape rejection and leave; Bloom is desperate to return home in order to resume their vigil. It’s partly a matter of promise and honour, partly a worry that Bee may have already returned and found Bloom missing.

After disappearing down the next Carrollian rabbit hole, however, neither will have much choice in the matter.



This is a feast of colour combos, so many more than I have to show for you because I want their surprise to take your breath away, just as they took mine. Mendoza uses them to evoke individual emotional states and wider moods, one specific time and place if I’m not much mistaken, temperatures, atmospheres, chaos and confusion, conflict and conflagration and even – when Bloom and Gloopy pop up out of the central hole of a six-side die – pace.

There the previously frantic sequence of fear and flight from a war-torn kingdom, culminating in a free-fall tumble through increasingly wide slashes of angry red through yolk yellow and green immediately followed by a dam-busted spew of battlements and metal-clawed machines…. is halted abruptly by a calm of cool violets.




“I feel like my whole life just poured out of my skull!
“How can you be so relaxed?
“Doesn’t anything scare you?”

Gloopy glances away, silently.

Oh, and that specific time and place? The second I saw the spread of sage green, black and red, I was in Nazi Germany – at least Nazi-occupied Europe – during WWII. Black and red constituted the vile swastika, to my mind, sage green the German uniform. I did check with Jonathan; he agreed.



Fear looms large during this graphic novel – there is one thing that does scare Gloopy – but also balance.

Although Gloopy’s fearless curiosity to the point of recklessness puts them in danger, it also allows for discoveries and new experiences which would otherwise have been missed. Plus, although Bloom claims to be far from brave, it’s so often Bloom’s practical skills learned on the lake coupled with a courage which is instinctive that saves both their souls in the nick of time. As an honest, open and caring friend, Gloopy is quick to compliment Bloom by pointing this out. But being told something is very different to believing something and recognising it in yourself, so it’s going to take time and some seriously harsh experiences for Bloom to feel and acknowledge a new strength.

Balance is also in evidence when it comes to art. At one point Gloopy, already desirous of creating something individualistic of their own but having their work slapped down by companions, is tempted by a consciousness of pure creativity who has a world of blue wonders to share. But it’s come at the cost of a disconnecting from others, and Gloopy’s not convinced that is right.




All of which dovetails neatly into the denouement – after many more environments and challenges – which I won’t share with you. I’ll only confess that Mendoza took me completely by surprise, refreshingly so. I’ve just redacted two further sentences and put my poker face on.

I’ve read this through three times now, each time spotting new details in what I’d describe (without any of its negative connotations) as an orgiastic experience of merging and emerging forms and colours which flow as freely upon the page as the story flows through panels. As such you don’t really want to stop and stare, but head right on through and then start anew.

Lastly, I’ve never seen wetter tears, though they won’t all be sad ones, I swear.


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

Fearscape vol 1 s/c (£15-99, Vault) by Ryan O’Sullivan & Andrea Mutti.

Oh, oh, irony abounds!

A wit-riddled use of this medium’s unique properties to flagrantly (and comically) expose its own high-handed, immodest, opinionated, egocentric and startlingly ruthless narrator as unreliable from the very start, I’d equate this to some of your favourite fantasies – perhaps from Image Comics – with a more literary history bent.

Pretensions, the protagonist has so very many: both towards authorial success much envied in others (but ostensibly, disdainfully dismissed) and within his own hyper-analytical, self-referential and overwrought purple prose.

Please don’t confuse the narrator and his authorial voice with that of Ryan O’Sullivan, for the latter’s beady eye is very much on the ball.

It’s a wrecking ball.



Our cad without a conscience is called Henry Henry. His first name is Henry, his second name is Henry, though no one believes this nor much else besides.

He aspires to write a ground-breaking, trend-setting great book of his own, although those who would seek such lofty ambitions are superciliously derided as superficial.  Specifically he covets the reputation and success of his mentor, veteran fantasy author Arthur Proctor, along with his recently completed new manuscript, ‘Terror Forming’. It lies unattended and so far unread in old Arthur’s flat, across the hall, which Henry has access to…

Henry’s only incomes lies instead in translation, wherein most of the original language may be lost because Henry knows best. Also, as he boasts:

“The grammar, the rhythm, sometimes the story, often the characters, places and settings. Even the title, on occasion.”

This is only suffered because Arthur has persuaded his agent to humour Henry. This agent he describes in a parenthetical aside thus:

“A nameless man of little consequence to our tale. You are free to imagine him a name. Wolfgang would be more than sufficient. Please don’t consider this dismissal a sign of my dislike for him. My agent was a dear friend. I’m only refusing to name him for the sake of descriptive brevity.”

They hate each other. And there’ll be plenty more circumlocution to come, plus other Chaucerian sleights of hand, for O’Sullivan has only just become to crack his mischievous knuckles.



So back to the flat of Arthur Proctor, laid up unresponsive in hospital, whose work Henry claims to hold in contempt with the spitting emphasis on “genre”:

“Twenty-seven novels. All of them fantasy. All of them set in the same trope-ridden dragon-infested world. Yet I am the one lack in originality?”

But if Henry is super-adept at one thing it is self-justification:

“To plagiarize my own benefactor! A wicked idea. How could my agent suggest such a thing?”

It wasn’t a suggestion, it was an accusation.

“Although, I could see his point.
“Arthur was dying. A novel is of no use to a dead man.
“And who was Arthur to claim this story as his own? His influences were my influences. We read the same books and watched the same television programs. I had no intention of stealing my neighbour’s latest manuscript. I merely wanted to glance over it. To see if the secrets of authorship lay hidden within its coffee-stained pages.
“Arthur would have agreed to it, if his health were better.
“I suppose, in a way, I was carrying out his wishes.”



So it is that he sidles up surreptitiously to Arthur’s door, Andrea Mutti playing the body language here and throughout to perfection – whether Henry’s skulking, aghast, alarmed or outright terrified – completely contradicting the supposed insouciance, confident bravado or the insincere excuses of the captions. Especially when Henry’s interrupted while pilfering the manuscript by its author’s daughter, Jill, a “professional artist, if you believe in such oxymorons”: then he really pulls out all the stops of self-justification in answering to himself her accusations.

“How dare she suspect me of burglary! I only placed the manuscript in my jacket to avoid confrontations… I had no intention of thievery. My hand was forced.”



If the art is juxtaposed against the captions dictated in order to out all the lies, not so the real-time dialogue which remains as revelatory as what’s seen. Except that the narrator (okay, O’Sullivan and Andworld Design on the lettering and its placement) contrive to make sure that as few of those inconveniently embarrassing speech balloons remain unseen, blocking them behind more protestations or offering alternate versions which reflect far better on Henry while leaving behind just enough of what’s said to expose the fabrication and mendacity. It’s a device similar to that deployed by Mazzuchelli’s deployment in ASTERIOS POLYP and Clowes’s in MISTER WONDERFUL, but to different effect. Either way, only in comics, folks!



Now, I know I’ve yet to touch on the titular Fearscape itself and so the fantastical element (other than what’s going on inside Henry’s deeply deluded head), but I’ve been a damn sight more helpful than the back-cover blurb which, in keeping with the contents, deliberately omits giving even a hint of the book’s plot points in favour of addressing potential readers directly to tell them it’s doing so.

But let’s just say that the clue’s in the title, and that Henry is in for a very rude, transdimensional awakening – as are the Fearscape’s occupants upon encountering Henry.



Please don’t imagine that you’re in for something salutary like a re-run of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ with omniscient spectres and a penitent protagonist.

This is a big book of lies, strained credulity and almost wilful gullibility too on the part of some of the more conceptual entities who really (no, really) should know better. But then Henry is as quick-witted as he is a shameless blusterer and bare-faced liar.

He’s also forgotten something foreshadowed early on, with further clues lobbed oh so casually in later, about his childhood encounters with Arthur Proctor.



Andrea Mutti is equally at home in the quotidian world of potted plants, bookshelves, hospital bedsides and suburban street scenes as he is in the fantastical realm of the Fearscape which allows him to really let rip with infinite graveyards, craggy caverns and presumably bottom chasms populated by mermaids, minotaurs, assorted ghastly phantoms and a disembodied brain floating silently atop its spinal cord. Plus, as I say, there’s all that character acting. Colourist Vladimir Popov suffuses the stygian Fearscape with the same ethereal, misty glow that Dave Stewart lent to Olivier Coipel’s forms in MAGIC ORDER written by Mark Millar, while keeping the real world relatively clean; yet not so clean that the lines can’t blur between them.

Watch out for the trio of casually homophobic thugs hanging around outside The Blacksmith pub, for example.

There’s so much here that I haven’t had time to type up from the language to all that literature I alluded to, not least a very brief note on James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’:

“For that is the strength of this book, to see a human mind, fully fictional (as all minds are) captured for eternity on the page.”

“Fully fictional (as all minds are)”! This book is bursting with things to make you think, so much so that some of them are merely lobbed in parenthetically like that.



Then there’s Henry’s resolute refusal to accept responsibility for anything, anything at all, even for his most his most hideous of betrayals. Don’t imagine you’re safe, either, dear reader, for eventually he’ll turn on you too. Initially Henry is assiduous, almost unctuous in his courtship of his readership (albeit with back-handed attacks on others), but when pushed to the shove he’ll attempt to make you complicit in his own culpability.

What a bloody rotter!

Iconoclastic from beginning to end, I’m thinking Laurence Sterne’s ‘The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy’, only with fewer black-dog days, even more pictures and a cube-headed I don’t know what.


Buy Fearscape vol 1 s/c and read the Page 45 review here

This Was Our Pact s/c (£13-99, First Second) by Ryan Andrews…

“Yeah okay, but… what if… what if the lanterns lead us into some cave full of beautiful mermaids?
“You’ll hate yourself FOREVER for missing that. You know you will. Both of you.”
“If it keeps us from getting grounded for all of eternity, I think I can live with hating myself.”
“I’ll do this MYSELF!”

“Or so I thought.”

So Ben did. But he was wrong. Here’s the publisher to clue us in on his errant thinking…

“Stand by Me meets My Neighbor Totoro in this astonishing, magical-realist adventure story for middle-grade readers. It’s the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they’ll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars.



This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and they made a pact with two simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back.



The plan is to follow the river on their bikes for as long as it takes to learn the truth, but it isn’t long before the pact is broken by all except for Ben, and much to Ben’s disappointment, Nathaniel, the one kid who just doesn’t seem to fit in. Together, Nathaniel and Ben will travel down a winding road full of magic, wonder, and unexpected friendship.”

Actually, the film comparison that resonated most strongly with me almost immediately after starting this was, in fact, Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman. I certainly concur with the magical realism adventure story, but just that sense of going on a mysterious journey to a destination unknown, and also because of the nocturnal element, combined with a new and true friendship unexpectedly found, made me think of that abiding Christmas classic.



I was also surprised just how quickly our furiously pedalling peloton was whittled down to two. I expected it to take a few chapters of attritionally bottling it, one by one, but no, almost immediately we are down to our odd couple of Ben and Nathanial.



Until our cast begins to magically grow again as their mystery tour rumbles on, that is, beginning with the appearance of a most perplexed polar bear, who is on a mystical mission of his own to catch some fish. Though perhaps the two journeys have more far in common than it first would seem…

“And that’s when we saw him.”

“Good evening.”

“I quickened my pace.
“Something told me it was a bad idea to strike up a conversation with a bear this late at night.
“Even one wearing such a dashing scarf.
“But clearly I was the only one who got that feeling.”

“Hi! I’m Nathaniel.”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance. Where might you be headed this evening?”
“We’re going farther than ANYONE has EVER gone.”
“Is that so? WELL! You’re in luck, then! That’s EXACTLY where this road goes!”

Good old Nathaniel! And so our two boys and their new bear chum commence their epic tandem adventures in earnest, taking in some truly astonishing scenery and engaging in some extraordinarily enjoyable shenanigans en route.



The copacetic countryside is entirely down to Ryan Andrew’s astonishing art. Again, just like Briggs’ Snowman there is a gentle, almost soft focus to it which captivates and draws you ever deeper further into this unreal odyssey, with the background almost continually melting and rematerialising anew in certain sequences. It provides a never-ending dreamy sense of almost floating motion as the boys try to track the lanterns down the river, yet forever getting side-tracked by some new ever more amusingly implausible development. I think it is his soft pencil shading that produces this effect.

The boys themselves, and the other characters, have an equally substantive degree of emotional life and depth to them as they are drawn. There is a genuinely evocative sense of joy and wonder apparent in their expressions at their remarkable wanderings and exciting encounters. I can definitely see a touch of Gipi (LAND OF THE SONS) here and there, but I was also suddenly struck by some real Charles Schulz’ PEANUTS Charlie Brown-esque facial grimaces. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you spot them!

As a tale about embracing the outsider and throwing oneself into a new friendship for the adventure it truly is, this tale is truly as heart-warming as a million yuletide logs on the proverbial fire. Happily though, you don’t need to wait until Christmas to enjoy this.


Buy This Was Our Pact s/c and read the Page 45 review here

H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness vol 1 (£17-99, Dark Horse) by Gou Tanabe…

“Professor Lake! Urgent message from base!
“A massive cold front’s rapidly approaching.
“We’re to return to base camp immediately.
“Before it hits the Ross Island shelf…”

“Tell them…
“We believe the value of these new specimens make any hazard worth taking!
“We are thankful for their advice regarding the weather. Yet our expedition shall proceed without interruption!
“We have 1,500 miles to fly across this unknown continent… and far more to discover. That is all.”

I think Professor Lake might be losing it a wee bit… I mean, it could just appear to his colleagues that he’s getting a tad too excited about his undoubtedly history-making discovery of frozen creatures which appear to defy everything that’s currently known about evolution. Almost as though they were not of this earth… That would be understandable, I suppose. But… it seems somewhat more obsessive than that. In fact, the warning signs were there days earlier back at base camp…

I guess they’re called the mountains of madness for a reason…



First of two volumes adapting one of Lovecraft’s few long-form stories by renowned manga creator Gou Tanabe, who has a bit of form  with old H.P., having done an Eisner-nominated collection for Dark Horse, H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE HOUND AND OTHER STORIES back in 2017 that was extremely well received.  

At The Mountains Of Madness (along with The Silver Key) is one of my absolute favourite Lovecraft stories. I’ve commented before whilst reviewing I.N.J Culbard’s adaptation (now collected along with ‘The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath’, ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward’ and ‘The Shadow Out of Time’ in the swanky HP LOVECRAFT FOUR CLASSIC HORROR STORIES hardcover) that this work is in some ways the most straightforward and comprehensible of Lovecraft’s stories, simply because whatever else it is, it’s also a great Boy’s Own period adventure tale.

The ‘whatever else it is’ being most definitely brooding, creeping and finally sanity-shattering psychological horror.



Tanabe’s fine-lined black and white art style suits a story set in the crisp Antarctic climes, working exceedingly well for the increasingly chilling, figuratively and literally, willpower sapping sequence of events.



This first volume covers the Miskatonic University expedition out from Arkham, Massachusetts to explore the last great uncharted wilderness, believing their ‘modern age’ equipment of planes and drills will allow them to safely uncover the secrets hidden below the ice cap. They’re going to get a lot more than they bargained for…



By the end of this volume, our hardy explorers have certainly made some startling discoveries, and been considerably reduced in numbers in return. For the survivors, things are only going to get infinitely more terrifying…

The second and concluding volume is due out in mid-October. Pre-order now to avoid missing manga mania!!


Buy H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here

Marble Cake (£11-99, Avery Hill Publishing) by Scott Jason Smith…

“So I’m really into granola at the minute. It’s delicious! There’s a two for one deal on at the smart mart at the mo. You should get some.”
“Nah. Not for me, mate. I’m more of a bacon and chips kinda guy…”
“Chips! For breakfast, ha!”
“If I wanna eat chips for breakfast in my own home I will! You can order them for breakfast down the cafe can’t you!!”
“Alright mate, keep your hair on!”

I shall have to confess at this point, that the new Page 45 breakfast choice du jour is err… a Greggs vegan sausage roll.

Moving on swiftly, let me allow you to digest Avery Hill’s plugola and decide whether you should cut a slice of this for yourself. I have no idea where I am going with my mixing bowl of food metaphors so I shall just stop right now… But first do pour the publisher milk and pick up your spoon…

“Have you ever wished you could glimpse into the lives of strangers, those anonymous faces passed in the produce aisle of the local supermarket, those shadows lurking behind the closed curtains of their homes? Would you be surprised by the rich mixture of personalities, the strange habits and the unexpected insecurities?

Perhaps like you they’re also baking blind, no recipe to follow. You might produce a perfect cake, or you might end up throwing the mix in the trash and starting again.

Marble Cake, the debut graphic novel from acclaimed British author and artist Scott Jason Smith, cuts a slice through everyday life and takes a bite out of the layers concealed beneath the icing, all told with the acerbic wit and keen eye of a truly exciting new creator.”

It’s a clever title, actually, neatly reflecting the fact that we have a large ensemble cast that overlaps and interacts with each other, either purposefully or coincidentally. For if you cut a Marble cake open you’ll see that lovely random swirling of colour show how the ingredients have been gently folded together but not over-mixed.



All of our cast’s stories don’t really start, nor do they either stop as such. Indeed we are precisely provided a few ‘glimpses’ into their lives to witness their daily mini-triumphs and tragedies that form lives very much more ordinary.



It does all have a mildly soap operatic feel to it, probably due to the rather downbeat suburban setting and deliberately quotidian-as-it-gets bunch of locals, but it’s very wittily written and pieced together extremely skilfully thus ensuring this is a far superior recipe for reading.



Art-wise Scott Jason Smith certainly plays to that sensibility too, with primarily dull grey backgrounds, drab locations such as the supermarket and a grotty local pub, populated by a bunch of characters who you can safely say aren’t going to win any beauty contests.



You will however nonetheless be utterly fascinated by the minutiae of their mundane lives and when the proverbial twitching curtains of our voyeuristic sojourn are drawn closed for the last time you’ll be straining for one last glimpse to try and guess what is going to happen next.



Nothing very much probably, but a nosey bugger like myself still wants to know!


Buy and read the Page 45 review here

Box (£8-99, Top Shelf) by Patrick Wirbeleit & Uwe Heidschotter…

“Great! We’ve created a No-See-Saw! We’re inventors!
“Let’s invent something else.
“Come on. Let’s go into the house and build a what-happens-then machine.”
“A what?”

Hmmm… sounds like something that writes spoilers for you! Nobody needs one of those!

Anyway, I don’t know about what happens then, but here’s what happens now. I’m going to let the publisher read you the assembly instructions for this younger readers escapade…

“Matthew likes to build things. And invent things. So, finding a box sitting in front of his house one day is a real stroke of luck. But he has to pinch himself when it suddenly starts talking. A living toolbox!

Even better, Box loves to invent things too, so the two become fast friends. But where did Box come from, and how did he get to be so magical? When his secret comes out and accidentally leaves Matthew’s parents frozen, the two friends will have to race to find the answers and save the day.”



Unfortunately, Box is completely rubbish at DIY. He might be able to produce all manner of tools from inside himself, which is handy, sure, but he has no clue whatsoever about how to use them properly as evidenced by his complete lack of understanding of how a see-saw works.



I.e. not frenziedly hammering it down to a tree stump rendering it completely immobile…



Shame, as a bit of tool handling talent might have proved useful whilst on an epic quest to find the sorcerer who can unfreeze your new chum’s parents.

This is a daft little off-cut of fun that isn’t a great deal more than a couple of running gags, but it is all done rather amusingly well, I must say. The art style is most definitely youngster friendly and Box in particular, with his perpetually silly smile and dozy expression, will certainly make ‘em laff.

For more extensively constructed compressed corrugated capers of the magical variety I would highly recommend Doug TenNapel’s CARDBOARD.


Buy Box and read the Page 45 review here

Amazing Spider-Man: Epic Collection vol 4: The Goblin Lives s/c (£35-99, Marvel) by Stan Lee, various & John Romita Sr., various.

Late’60s swingin’ collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #53-67, but also SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1 and 2 which you may well have missed.

The first is in black and white, which was a bit weird for the time, the second in colour and starring the Green Goblin as Osborn regains his memory, loses his sanity and once more threatens to reveal Spider-Man’s secret identity to the perpetually oblivious Aunt May. Other adversaries include the follicularly fabulous Medusa, two Vultures, Mysterio and even the Red Skull.

There’s increasingly more rare, archive material in these editions, here including lots of unused Larry Lieber layout pages and several house advertisements.

For more in-depth assessments of earlier outings, try our more iconoclastic reviews of other AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EPIC COLLECTIONS, FANTASTIC FOUR EPIC COLLECTIONS and AVENGERS EPIC COLLECTIONS.

Cool cover.


Buy Amazing Spider-Man: Epic Collection vol 4: The Goblin Lives 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’.

Beanworld Omnibus vol 2 s/c (£22-99, Dark Horse) by Larry Marder

Cerebus vol 5: Jaka’s Story (Remastered Edition) (£35-99, Aadvark Vanaheim Inc.) by Dave Sim & Gerhard

The Collected Toppi vol 1: The Enchanted World h/c (£22-99, Magnetic Press) by Sergio Toppi

Conan The Barbarian vol 1: The Life And Death Of Conan Book One s/c (£17-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Mahmud Asrar, Gerardo Zaffino

Courtney Crumrin vol 5 s/c (£11-99, Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh

Crimson Lotus s/c (£17-99, Dark Horse) by John Arcudi & Mindy Lee

The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde vol 5: The Happy Prince s/c (£7-99, NBM) by Oscar Wilde & P. Craig Russell

Horizontal Collaboration h/c (£16-99, Korero Press) by Navie & Carole Maurel

Joker s/c (£13-99, DC) by Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo

The Singing Rock & Other Brand-New Fairy Tales h/c (£13-99, FirstSecond) by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer & Simini Blocker

My Hero Academia vol 19 (£6-99, Viz) by Kohei Horikoshi

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