Thursday, September 25, 2008

Indies Preview Review for November Part 2 of 3

Welocme to Part 2.

Catastrophic Comics
Sparks #6 by Christopher Folino & Jm Ringuet
William Katt's critically acclaimed superhuman noir thriller comes to its explosive conclusion as the thrilling finale reveals the extent of Ian Sparks' true powers! $2.99
Jim: What a great series. Chris has put his heart and soul into this book and it shows. JM is growing as an artist with every issue, don’t miss the finale.
Lee: This has been a great series. But, you Mr/Ms reader already know that because you should be reading it.

Alpha #1 Exchange GN By Pacal Renard

Assia Donkova is a young Muscovite, idealistic and very attractive. As manager of an art gallery, she visits Paris museums and exhibitions in search of new Western talents. In front of a Monet work one day, she meets painter Julian Morgan. Very quickly the young woman falls under his spell, and they meet again. But is Julian only an aspiring painter? Why does he spy on Assia's slightest moves? And what are the mysterious appointments Assia keeps? Russian mafia and powerful financial organizations are at the centre of a diabolical machination - one that could present grave danger to the new global balance!
Pages: 96, SC, FC, $19.95
Lee: I mentioned in Part 1, that I wonder about the lack of strong women leads in the books. Now, this sounds like a great story with a strong female lead. Why can’t Americans write cool stuff like this.
Jim: Lee is coming across a little on the snobbish side. Strong women characters were a hallmark of Chris Claremont’s writing and Greg Rucka certainly has a lot of strong female leads (see Whiteout and Queen and Country).

Lady S. Vol. 01: Here's to Suzie! GN By Jean Van Homme & Philippe Aymond
Adopted daughter and principal collaborator of James Fitzroy, roving ambassador and special correspondent for the American Secretary of State in Europe, Susan is a clever, multilingual young woman, in full bloom and perfectly happy in the eyes of an attentive father. But this too-perfect happiness hides many faults, sorrows, and mysteries. Trapped by her past, Susan will have to play her most dangerous role in a life already rich with adventure as Lady S., high-class spy in a diplomatic environment where the stakes are higher than she could dare imagine!
Pages: 96, SC, FC, $19.95
Lee: And this is more of the same. I’m always looking for something different and this fits the bill perfectly.
Jim: More of the same what? We have had the Black Widow around for 40 years.

:01 First Second
Polo: Runaway Book HC By Regis Faller
When Polo sets aside his brand-new book and drifts off to sleep, a curious little creature makes off with it. Polo follows in hot pursuit, setting the stage for a new series of adventures - into the sky, to a mysterious cloud made of cotton candy, through fun-house mirrors, on hot air balloons, across a desert and into the jungle. A companion book to The Adventures of Polo, this new wordless comic for kids is every bit as fun and charming as the last. Visit Faller here lots of art previews
Pages: 80, 9.5 x 10.7, FC, $16.95
Lee: I’m not sure I’ll get this but I know there’s lot of Owly readers out there. This is for them because it looks great.
Jim: I would have to agree with Lee, but I want to disagree after the last few picks.

Alan's War GN By Emmanuel Guibert, With Alan Cope
When Alan Cope was eighteen, he joined the army and went off to fight in World War II. Like every American, he felt a patriotic fervor burning in him after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. But he had little idea what he was getting into by enlisting. This graphic memoir tells the story of his life during wartime, of his journey from his home on the west coast to basic training in Kentucky to leave in New York City, to the battlefields of France, to the terrors of the Bulge and General Patton's drive on Germany and Prague. Told with poignant intimacy and matchless artistry, Alan's War was born from a friendship between Alan and the graphic novel creator Emmanuel Guibert, who created a deeply personal and moving graphic novel from the stories Alan told him of his wartime experiences. An award-winner when it was serialized in Guibert's native France, this moving story of an American's experiences during the Second World War now finds its audience in his homeland. More about the artist here
Pages: 336, 7x10, SC, B&W, $18.95
Lee: Guibert is a fantastic artist. I have some of his other work, Professors Daughter, from :01 Second too. So I know the art is good, and the story made this an absolute winner. There isn’t much to say because the hype is so clean you will know if you like it or not. As for me, I’m in.
Jim: This looks way too good to pass up on.

Fantagraphics Books
Blazing Combat HC By Archie Goodwin, Etc
Blazing Combat was an American war-comics magazine published by Warren Publishing from 1965 to 1966. Written and edited by Archie Goodwin, with artwork by such industry notables as Gene Colan, Frank Frazetta, John Severin, Alex Toth, Al Williamson, Russ Heath, Reed Crandall, and Wally Wood, it featured war stories in both contemporary and period settings, unified by a humanistic theme of the personal costs of war, rather than by traditional men's adventure motifs. As one letter writer in the third issue put it, "Do you seriously expect to make money with a war magazine that publishes nothing but anti-war stories?"While most stories took place during World War II, they ranged in settings from the 18th century to the present-day. Some dealt with historical figures, such as Revolutionary War general Benedict Arnold and his pre-traitorous victory at the Battle of Saratoga, while "Foragers" focused on a fictitious soldier in General William T. Sherman's devastating March to the Sea during the American Civil War. "Holding Action", set on the last day of the Korean War, ended with a gung-ho young soldier, unwilling to quit, being escorted over his protests into a medical vehicle. What proved to be the most controversial were stories set during the contemporary Vietnam War, particularly the classic short "Landscape", which follows the thoughts of a Vietnamese peasant rice-farmer devoid of ideology, who nonetheless pays the ultimate price simply for living where he does. While writer Goodwin evenhandedly portrays the North Vietnamese Army brutal summary executions of village officials, and a well-meaning U.S. Army fatally bludgeoning its way through the village in a counterattack, the story caused key distributors to stop selling the title.
Pages: 200, 8 x 10, $22.99
Lee: Just in case you aren’t aware, Blazing Comics is considered one of the best, if not the best war comic ever. It’s one of Warren Publishing first magazine comics (pre-Creepy and Eerie) and outrageously expensive. I can wait to get my copy.
Jim: And it is nice to see that it is a good publishing reprinting this material. This is really a no-brainer.

Fuzz and Pluck: Splitsville By Ted Stearn
Ted Stearn's cult favorite heroes Fuzz and Pluck (a rooster and a bear) return in this hilariously bizarre and charming graphic novel. Fired from his degrading job at the fast food restaurant Lardy's, Pluck is taken in by Glibbia Honey, the manager for a ragtag team of gladiators. After witnessing the first contest (which involves a badger, a bag of garbage, a mallet, and five rats), Pluck vows that he himself will one day become the champion of this preposterous sport. Meanwhile, Fuzz is out on his trusty tricycle making another Lardy's delivery, unaware of Pluck's career change. He soon finds himself trapped in a bedroom full of clueless stuffed animals. When he finally escapes, he meets a dotty old ferryman determined to beat out his only competition - a bridge. Fuzz takes on the Sysiphean task of helping his friend the ferryman compete with his nemesis.Meanwhile, back in the Machiavellian world of the gladiator games, Pluck accomplishes his goal - until he finally meets his match. A mad race and tug of war culminates in a fatal convergence that changes everything for our two poor misfits. Visit the artist here.. or read stories and buy the art here
Pages: 280, 7 x 9, HC, $24.99
Lee: This is definitely a modern comix. I’m not sure there’s any other way to describe it. If you’ve never read it… well it’s “this hilariously bizarre”. It’s crude but really funny. Be warned.
Jim: It is rude and crude, but it is very, very funny. Click on the link to see if it is your taste or not.

Mome Winter 2009 (Vol. 13) By Various; Edited Gary Groth & Eric Reynolds
A LITERARY ANTHOLOGY... WITH A TWIST. Since its inception in 2005, MOME has bridged the gap between the contemporary graphic novel scene and the current cutting-edge literary scene, serving as a perfect sampler of today's best young graphic novelists in a quarterly format that sits as handsomely on the newsstand alongside journals like McSweeney's and Paris Review as it does in the graphic novels section.Vols. 13 & 14 of the popular series welcome the return of renowned graphic novelist David B. (Epileptic, Babel) as well as returning regulars Jonathan Bennett, Sophie Crumb, Andrice Arp, Paul Hornschemeier, Kurt Wolfgang, Eleanor Davis, Zak Sally, Tom Kaczynski, Dash Shaw, Joe Kimball, and Ray Fenwick. Tim Hensley also returns with more of his brilliant "Wally Gropius" strips, as does fan favorite Al Columbia! Plus, several other surprises from some of the best new talent in comics. MOME is an accessible, reasonably priced quarterly running approximately 120 pages per volume, mostly in color, and spotlighting the most exciting new storytellers in comics along with special surprises. MOME is quickly earning a reputation as one of the premier literary anthologies on the shelves, and the only one comprised almost entirely of comics. Fantagraphics has a great list of all the Mome books plus from previews from each here
Pages: 120, 7 x 9, SC, $14.99
Lee: If you looking for a great alternative comics anthology then look no further. I have several of the Mome issues and I love them all. There’s an incredible amount of diverse art and story telling that a joy to read and look at. Great books.
Jim: Lee is the expert on this material as I have never gotten any of these anthologies. Still I would encourage people to check out an anthology now and again and you may discover a talent that you never knew.

Gemstone Publishing
Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol. 02: Companion SC By Don Rosa
All twelve chapters of Don Rosa's celebrated Eisner Award-winning The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck series, detailing the biography of the World's Richest Duck, are presented in an affordable trade paperback edition! Also available is The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion, presenting the pre-chapters and in-between chapters of Rosa's sprawling epic!
Pages: 208, 7x10, FC, $16.99
Lee: I’m pretty sure I’ve never mention Life & Times Vol 2. Jim said I couldn’t talk about Vol 1 anymore so it’s time to start talking about Vol 2. BETTER THAN SECRET INVASION!!!!
Jim: Wow, so that is what? Any book? I have never understood people’s deep and abiding love for the duck material.

Grand Central Publishing
Advance Knight GN By Gza & James Reitano

Founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, also known as Genius, has two passions - hip-hop and chess. In his first graphic novel, the two themes combine in the story as G and his two cousins navigate the tumultuous rap scene in New York in the 1980s and early 1990s - the era of mix tapes and grimy record deals. Using his chess prowess, G goes head to head with other rap acts and gets into scrapes with shady music producers as he battles his way to the top of the charts. GZA is widely recognized as the best lyricist in the Wu-Tang Clan, with highly visual and intellectual content, and his solo album Liquid Swords is considered one of the most influential hip-hop albums of all time. Pages: 110, 6x9, SC, FC, $9.99
Lee: I’m not sure that I’m the target audience for this book but it sounds good. It definitely sounds different than anything I’ve experienced, that’s for sure. I’m a huge music fan and a big geek so combining music with chess is almost a sure sell for me. I might just try this.
Jim: Where I like chess and I like music, but I don’t like this premise.

Harper Collins Publishers
Magic Trixie Vol. 02: Sleeps Over GN By Jill Thompson
She's smart. She's sassy. She has magic powers. And she's not going to bed! Magic Trixie's had enough! No one else in her class has to put up with brushing their teeth, taking a bath, and climbing into bed on time. So Magic Trixie's leaving! She'll stay over at each of her friends' houses and see what a monster, a werewolf, a mummy, and a pair of vampires do when the sun goes down. Eisner Award-winning artist Jill Thompson brings her dazzling talents to this bewitching graphic novel series for younger readers.
Pages: 96, 6x9, SC, FC, $7.99
Lee: Ok, this is most assuredly a kids book. If you have kids, thinking about having kids, just like kids books then this is for you. I have young kids so I’m sharing it with them. Or, better yet, if you liked Scary Godmother then you’ll love this.
Jim: Past my time frame to be getting this book as my “kids” are 26 and 22.

Zot! Special Edition HC (signed) By Scott McCloud
Long before manga took the American comics market by storm, Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics) combined the best ideas from manga, alternative comics, and superheroes into Zot! - a frenetic and innovative exploration of comics' potential that helped set the stage for McCloud's later groundbreaking theoretical work. Zachary T. Paleozogt lives in the far-flung future of 1965, a utopian Earth of world peace, robot butlers, and flying cars. Jenny Weaver lives in an imperfect world of disappointment and broken promises, the Earth we live in. Stepping across the portals to each other's worlds, Zot and Jenny's lives will never be the same again. Now, for the first time since its original publication more than twenty years ago, every one of McCloud's pages from the black and white series has been collected in this must-have commemorative edition for aficionados to treasure and new fans to discover.
Pages: 576, 6x9, B&W, $49.95
Lee: Piss me off !!! WTF is this? I got the Zot sc (already read, already loved) and now they issue the HC! WHERE WAS THIS THREE MONTHS AGO! Anyway, it’s better than I remember and between chapters McCloud talks about the process of each issue/storyline. This is a masterpiece that needs to be on your shelf.
Jim: Don’t feel sad for Lee, I know for a fact that his store allowed him to return the soft cover version. I do agree that when releasing this stuff, the more expensive version should be released first or you will piss off your fans.

Heavy Proton
Obsession GN By William Rees & Jeff Clemens
Poor Clarissa Case. Father left home when she was quite young and Mother is confined to a wheelchair. One evening, after climbing out of a bedroom window, Clarissa's world changes forever. Normal never looked so strange in this tale of secrets, solitude and small town Obsession. Cover by Sam Hart. Visit the site, with previews, here and Jeff Clemens here
Pages: 96, 7x10, SC, B&W, $11.95
Lee: This certainly looks interesting. The previews are pretty good too. Clemens website give a better preview of his art but the regular site gives more page samples. This might be worth checking out.
Jim: The preview is very cool; this is worth a few shekels.

Part 3 will be posted Saturday!

1 comment:

  1. Jim- You prove my point. Claremont wrote superhero women and Black Widow was a superhero too. For the most part, there are very few stong female leads out there.

    Although, I will conceed Rucka's Q&C is good.