Thursday, 22 September 2011

The genre wheel- sci-fi, noir, steampunk

2000AD is a sci-fi/fantasy publisher I've never really paid much attention to. I know it best for Judge Dredd, which I 've never been able to get into. After reading Leviathan, which (I believe) was serialised in 2000AD, I went on the lookout for more of Ian Edington's work and bought the above 3 books for a mere 7 quid on Ebay. Th1rt3en is by Mike Carey, one of my favourite comic writers ever, and the other just looked interesting.

Been meaning to buy this 1999 crime noir book  by Ed Brubaker for ages, but it's been hard to get ahold of a copy that wasn't at least 20 quid. Managed to get this for a tenner on Ebay (where else?). And more Ian Edington! Dude is on my list at the moment. So, quick rubbish post over, off to weekly road rage lesson

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Batman's poker face

New comics, photos of new comics, incompetent clerks and bonus cute kid

Yes, so more pictures of new books, because words are hard. Or, good words are hard. And I don't know about you, but I love seeing pictures of what books other people are reading/buying. It's why I try to take at least one picture of the inner pages of the book so the art is visible, becuase that's usually what swings it for me. This week, I got two books which have been on my radar for a while- Jonathan Ross' and Tommy Lee Edwards' Turf and Return of the Dappermen by Jim McCann and Janet Lee.

I ventured into town last week with the explicit purpose of comic-purchasing. I really wanted the new collected edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the above titles. They didn't have TMNT in Travelling Man due to some American distributors issues, but they suggested I try Forbidden Planet instead. So trotted along to FP, and was glad I did, as there I was a participle (I don't know if that's right, shut up, I'm ranting) in quite possibly the most enlightening conversation with a comic clerk ever:

Me: Hi. Do you have the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ultimate collection?
Comics Clerk: Ummm. .  I dont think so. . um, what's it called?
Me: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection.
CC: Let me check on the system for you.. . . . no, we don't have it.
Me: Oh, okay. Do you have any of these comics- I couldn't find them on the shelves. 100 Months?
CC: No.
Me: Return of the Dappermen?
CC: . . . what? dapper. . . what?
Me: Dapper MEN.
CC: No.

And it went on. Came home, took tablets, ordered Turf and Dappermen. Took pictures-

Abu intrigued by Turf.

Abu pawing Turf.

Abu kicked out due to uncontrollable behaviour.

Inside pages of Turf- art looks great.

A different kind of vigilance: this photo made me laugh- I love Jonathan!

What to say? This is why I'll never turn to digital comics. The workmanship and art you get in books is irreplacable. Very brief synopsis of each book for anyone interested (I'm yet to read them both).

Turf: Set in New York, 1929, involevs gang wars, aliens and vampires
Return of the Dappermen: Set in land where there is no time- in existence or concept, and a world full of children and robots, the status quo is disturbed when 314  grown men come from the sky.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Eid Comics

Ramadhan is over, which means- Eid! Or it did mean it- it was about two weeks ago, but laziness must. I made sure to get some books from my family this year, mainly by standing over them while they were at the computer and clicking the mouse for them.

Scarlet Traces by current favourites Ian Edington and D'Israeli, Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover ( bought purely for the cover).

Wonderland by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew, Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke.

Locke and Key volumes 3 and 4, already read- truly, really excellent. I swear.

Also, had a rather good Eid. Came as a bit of a shock to me also. Low expectations are the way forward.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hellboy Library Editions

As much as I would like to, I can't bring myslef to shell out for these ridiculously overpriced 'absolute' versions of comics that publishers put out. I mean, the Absolute Dark Knight for £70? Absolute DC The New Frontier for £50? Am I missing something or are these not just two comics put together in an oversized hardback version, with a couple of sketches slapped in the back? For £70 I can buy 7 hardcover comics- it's sheer nuttiness (It should be mentioned DC seem to be the main perpetrator here).

I don't mind spending money on something like this though- the Hellboy Library Editions. Simply put, it takes two of the Hellboy trades and binds them together in a beautiful black hardback cloth cover with gold lettering and one of Mike Mignolia's awesome watercolour's of Hellboy. It's quality, and at a reasonable price- for £22 you get two oversized trade comics that would probably cost you at least £7 each in normal paperback format, and a healthy section of Mike's sketching processes and notes at the back too. And you know, the stories aren't too bad :) I only have volumes 1 and 2 so far, so much to buy and so little money to go around!

Leviathan by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli

Hip, hip the fuck hooray! Honestly, it's been a while since I read a really good book. Something that when you finish, you close the book with a satsified feeling and go 'wow'. Although recently this has changed, with quite a few books really impressing me (which is important to do if you're a book. Or an author. Or an illustrator.). The first of which I'd like to randomly ramble about is Leviathan, written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by D'Israeli. First, the cover which I love (and on which I have only just noticed all those little ghosty octopusy things):

Reminds me of this great poster for an upcoming film called Tyrannosaur- same concept-

Leviathan is the name of a monster cruise liner a mile long and half a mile wide, that sets sail from England, destination New York, in 1928 with 30,000 people on board, only to never arrive. The book opens 20 years on from the ship's launch, with the double suicide of a now elderly couple. For twenty years, the ship has been drifting in unknown seas, and having hoped and prayed for an answer like many others before them, the couple have chosen to finally end their ordeal. It's the murder of a passenger in the upper ecehelons of the ship, however, that propels events into motion. Summoned from the middle-class section of the ship, Detective Sergeant Lament is asked to investigate the killing. Initially he refuses to do so, citing the unique social culture that has developed on the ship -particularly below deck- as a reason. He fails to see what makes a murder in first class so important when there are at least 4 people killed each week in steerage.

His interest is piqued when the Captain tells him the body has been flayed- the modus operandi of the 'Stokers'- the ship's rumored bogeymen, who can walk on ceilings and walls, with great long amphibious tongues wrapped around their heads. He's further intrigued when the Captain tells him that the ship has had no word from the engine rooms in over five years, with all the men dispatched to investigate never to return. Furthermore, although the engines providing the ship with heat, light and power, the Leviathan should have run out of fuel years ago. So he begins the journey down into the bowels of the ship, where he first has to get past the pit fights, brothels and scavenging of those 'below deck' who, apart from being sent rations of food from up above, have been left to fend  for themselves and have suffered a complete social breakdown.


It's a genuinely fantastic book and D'Israeli's art is a big contributing factor. I've said it many a time- I don't like black and white art- for me, the whole point of a comic is pictures and the whole point of pictures is colour, but I cannot imagine this book in colour. The black and white works to reflect the state of limbo which the Leviathan is in, and gives it a tone of menace, where I feel colour would have made it seem more alive and less serious somehow. D'Israelis drawings of the ship really give you a sense of the magnitude and scope of the liner and when you follow Lament into the murky depths of the ship, the closeness and heat and ferality reek off the page (and I'm not one to get romantic about stuff like that).

Yes, I wish it could have been longer, but only because it was so good I didn't want it to end. The quality of the art and writing and the whole concept deserved to be explored further. But mustn't complain! The best book I've read in a long while and not at all expensive. Get it.