Sunday, 9 August 2009

Money Up Front

The above Polish film poster has nothing to do with the this post but isn't it great?

After a good couple of months of stress at work and weekend lethargy and a crisis of commitment I'm back with a post on the books I've ordered money up front for the next couple of months. I've been reading plenty recently and will review books over the next weeks to get back up to speed.
In no specific order:
Young Liars
Batman and Robin
I Kill Giants
The Art Of Harvey Kurtzman
Amazing Spider-Man
Asterios Polyp
Wednesday Comics
The Nobody
Dark Reign Zodiac
Detective Comics
Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron
You'll note that my priorities are well aligned in the face of the credit crunch...

Dark Horse Noir should be out very soon. Featuring a ton of great creators doing short crime stories, this looks like an anthology that will definitely have more good than so so in it. Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker, David Lapham, Rick Geary, Paul Grist, Jeff Lemire, Sean Phillips, Eduardo Barreto are the known quantities while M. K. Perker, and Alex de Campi, who knows. As always the "and more" bit causes a little concern but we should see soon. Preview available here.

3 Story is very much a leap of faith. I've heard good things about Matt Kindt and the premise for this book is interesting. Kindt has a reputation for creating a whole world with a lot of work invested in the design and supplementary material to give a 'whole' experience. Rather than paraphrasing the sollictiation I'll just direct you here.

The next Modern Masters is a retrospective interview with Darwyn Cooke. The success of these books is very dependant on the subject. The Lee Weeks and Chris Sprouse volumes recently were great while the Kyle Baker one left me kind of cold (apart from the part where he talked about helping Lynn Varley with computer colouring for Dark Knight 2). This should be good as Cooke doesn't come across as a guy who wastes his time on projects.

Gotham Central volume 2 will be great. I know this as I've already read it. Brubaker and Rucka with Michael Lark. What's not to like. If you didn't follow this series, can't recommend it enough. I think by the end of it we'll have four hard covers and I'd recommend at least the first three. Volume 2 has a great Joker as a sniper, randomly (?) taking out passers by.

This is one of those satisfying moments where I'm gald I've waited all these years before spending money on Groo as we're gonna get it all collected book by book in it's entirity, "Collecting material from Destroyer Duck #1, Starslayer #5, Pacific Comics's Groo the Wanderer #1-#8, Eclipse Comics's Groo the Wanderer Special #1, and Epic's The Groo Chronicles #1-#6". Great stuff to sit next to my seven complete Concrete books!

Umbrella Academy: Dallas was a painful wait for me. The first series was excellent and Gabriel Ba's covers are so well designed and so well coloured (Dave Stewart of course). Nice to have something genuinely new under the sun.

As a die hard Mignola slash Hellboy slash beautiful books fan this is an absolute no-brainer. My Sunday afternoons sail by with these librart editions and I struggle to think of anyone else's work that would merit the format and the cash.

This is another example of glad I waited. For some reason the Fantagraphics versions of the Usagi books have always been about a centimeter smaller than the Dark Horse versions and with boring design. Recently they improved on the design but they're still smaller than the Dark Horse versions. Now Fantagraphics are doing a two book slipcase hard covers containg all of the Fantagraphics books with all the covers and supplementary material. There are two versions, a normal one and one signed with a sketch at 95$. Not going to comment on which version I'm getting. Usagi is a pure pleasure, great cartooning and solid characters. Self contained stories which conribute to the greater whole of the saga.

A good time to be reading Usagi. To celebrate 25 years Stan Sakai is producing a new full colour graphic novel, fully painted. At $14.95 it'll be a great opportunity to sample the character if you haven't tried it yet. The talking animals aspect of the series as an off-putting factor crumbles under the great story telling and intensly researched feudal Japanese backdrop. Check it out if you haven't.

This is a mention of something that I'd be getting if I didn't already have it (and I still might trade up for new Dave Stewart colour sections in Hell). On the back of Guy Davis's long overdue recognition as one of the great storytellers and designers in comics, Dark Horse are releasing a collection of the two Oni Marquis books, in preparation for more material coming up. The Marquis is a good and creepy series about a guy who has been gifted with a sight that allows him to see through the disguises that demons ware to allow them to move freely though a vice ridden, hedonistic alternate 17/1800s. He has his doubts about his sanity and as the book goes on, you do too.

Collecting the serialised adaptation of the original Vertigo novel by Gaiman, the Sandman Dream Hunters is P Craig Russell at his best, artwise. No slavish photo reference as in the Ring, to drag you out of the story. I loved the Coraline adaptation and have high hopes of good P Craig with this.

The current series of Thor has been GREAT. I've only read the first trade which is all Olivier Coipel but the series is so understated, so subtle and graceful for superhero book that your constantly taken aback at what's not happening. When the action comes its welcome but you also want to get through it again to the quiet Oklahoma moments. Love it and this looks like it'll be volume two of three as Straczynski's off to DC.


David N said...

Totally with you on Batman & Robin, Asterios Polyp, Young Liars and The Hunter. Fantastic one and all.
Wednesday comics as well, surely?

Is Northlanders good? I've considered it before but never taken the plunge..

Will Shyne said...

I'd say wait for the review but I've lent the first volume out so it might be one of the later books I talk about. It's good. The first volume is also VERY cheap, making it worth the try. I read the second book yesterday and do really like it. What's kind of interesting is that thus far the first book has nothing to do with the second and I've seen no indication that this'll change later in interviews etc. I'm not 100% convinced by Brian Woods writing but I do like he artists on both books and Dave McCaig's doing amazing wok with the colors. I've no specific problem with Wood's writing apart from the dialogue saying nothing to me. Everything I've read by him (Fight For Tomorrow, Local and a bit of DMZ) has engaged me storywise and on the level of commitment to detail but there's just something about the dialogue that doesn't click with me.
With that said, definitely try Northlanders. It's close to being what you want from it and I'd be interested in what you think.
And of course, Wednesday Comics is great for the most part.