Friday, January 30, 2009

Indies Preview Review for March Part 2 of 3


Desperado Publishing
Monsterpocalypse Vol. 01 SC (W) Stephan Nilson (A) Karl Waller, Rick Bonilla
In the tradition of Godzilla, Ultra Man, Spectre Man, and other Japanese giant monster/giant robot cult classics, the era of monsters is upon us! Giant dinosaur-like creatures roam the southern hemisphere, wrecking absolute destruction upon every city in their path. Now mankind has designed their own giant protectors, but will they be enough to save mankind - or is our time on Earth up? Three months have past since Gorghadra destroyed most of Chicago and left humanity's defender, Sky Sentinel, for scrap. Sky Sentinel has been rebuilt but his commander is gone, and the crew is not happy with the replacement, Major Jackson Chase, a lot with a less than perfect military career. Tensions among the crew members escalate when Sky Sentinel is dispatched with an untested commander to defend New York City from an unearthly monster! $9.99

Lee: I grew up on giant monster movies so I was actually kind of excited about this until I learned that it was based upon a collectable miniatures game. My problem is that for every successful tie-in, Micronauts, Transformers, there’s a dozen flops, Sectaurs, He-Man. I could be wrong, it might be great but I’m willing to get someone else find out.
Jim: This book just looks like it should be out and out fun and excitement, more like an old time comic book instead of so many books today that sometimes forget that comics have an unlimited special effects budget.

Pandora's Box GN (W) Si Spencer (A) John McCrea
From the twisted mind of Si Spencer (Books of Magick) and the dark artistry of John McCrea (Hitman)! Glamour model and actress Hope, through her addiction to kinky sex and drugs, spirals into a nightmarish world of blackmail, torture, and murder in this sexy noir thriller that weaves a sordid tale of a woman's attempt to escape her past. $9.99
Lee: Blah blah blah… whatever… it has John McCrea art so I’m sold. I’ve been a huge fan of McCrea’s art since his glory days on Demon and Hitman. I am soooo getting this.
Jim: I knew when I saw John McCrea's name in he credits Lee was buying this book.

Drawn & Quarterly
Bun Field GN (W/A) Amanda Vähämäki
Characterized by an intriguing disjointed rhythm and delicious pencil-smudged style, The Bun Field is defined by a surreal ebb-and-flow, possessing a deep sense of foreboding and hurt, yet maintaining a biting sense of humor. Amanda Vähämäki's first graphic novel is infused with a sense of abbreviated adolescence and a kind of grey sky banality. A young girl dreams of a dinosaur eating Donald Duck; wakes to find a bald, hulking stranger sharing her breakfast; leaves to take a car trip with a bear; falls and breaks a tooth, to have it replaced from her dentist's dog's mouth; and pays back the favor by plowing a field of buns. Young people and anthropomorphic animals commingle in dreamy landscapes, performing mundane tasks that are skewed with an absurd and fantastic edge. Paperback, 8 x 8 inches, 96 pages, b/w $12.95 Amanda’s biography here and a preview here
Lee: I know this is a stretch but I really like the art. I’m sure this is raw but that’s to be expected from new creators. As always, If you’re looking for something different this is a good place to start.
Jim: Certainly something I will pass on, but if I even abandon the super hero stuff, I would focus on this type of material. Often early material can be raw, but filled with passion.

John Stanley Library Vol. 01: Melvin Monster HC (W/A) John Stanley
John Stanley is celebrated as one of the great children's comics writers for his work on the Little Lulu series. In fact, the Lulu work is a small part of his output; he drew and continued to write many other comics-notably his work on the 1960s teen comics from Dell and his monster comedy strip, Melvin Monster. Drawn & Quarterly is launching an extensive reprinting of Stanley's work in handsome volumes designed by Seth. The first in this series is the two-volume Melvin Monster collection featuring all ten issues about the oddball monster boy who just wants to be good, go to school, and do as he's told. Stanley's reputation as a great storyteller and visual comedian is richly deserved; few Golden or Silver Age comics stand the test of time the way these comics do. Hardcover W/Dustjacket. $19.95 You can read about Stanley here and read a Melvin Monster story here
Lee: Stanley secured his place as a comic book genius with the classic series Little Lulu. He followed that up with Melvin Monster, and my understanding is that it’s a great little series. It should be noted that we seem to be in a great period for reprints. More and more companies are reprinting both GA and Bronze Age material. If you like comics in all their shapes and sizes it’s a good time to be a collector.
Jim: LOL, I saw Little Lulu referenced and I knew this book screamed LEE!

Fanfare / Ponent Mon
My Mommy Is in America & She Met Buffalo Bill HC (W) Jean Regnaud (A) Emile Bravo
Jean relates his daily life and adventures with his sour-tempered teacher Madame Moinot, his busy dad, his kind nanny Yvette (the Queen of iced chocolate), his little brother Paul (with whom he is always fighting), and his precocious and spiteful neighbor Michele (whose parents own a kennel), telling them all those small and amusing things that appear to make him a normal boy. But inside there is a great emptiness and a voice calling 'Where is my mommy...?' as his only maternal contact is through a series of fanciful postcards read to him by the girl next door! With sensitivity and emotion, Regnaud and Eisner nominated Bravo (Best Short Story 2008) tell their story that reminds us that children are not the only ones who would rather invent than deal with reality. Winner of Essentials Award at the Angouleme Festival, 2008. Hardcover W/Dustjacket. $25.00 See the excellent preview here
Lee: I’m a huge fan of the awards circuit. It doesn’t matter if it’s Oscars, Caldecott, or a foreign award, I like the pedigree. There’s something about being good enough to get critical acclaim that draws my initial interest. And, I was completely sold once I saw the previews.
Jim: See that just show Lee has a little of that elitist snobbery in him, which is funny because it does not really suit Lee 100%, but it is a part of him.

Fantagraphics Books
Beg the Question SC by Bob Fingerman
A caustic and hilarious love story set in 1990s New York City. Bob Fingerman's Beg the Question tells the story of Rob and Sylvia, two twenty-somethings navigating the labyrinth of New York City life. Follow Rob & Sylvia's relationship through all of its ups-and-downs, from courtship to marriage, rentals to real estate salesmen, public sex to unwanted pregnancies, and everything in between. Performance art, extended families, the comic book industry and Screw magazine are just a few of the other topics subjected to Fingerman's satirical microscope. Featuring an introduction by Penn Jillette. $16.95 Visit Bob here
Lee: Bob Fingerman is just one of those creators that I have always been interested in. I don’t know why but he always seemed to have a voice, if you will. I read his work “Recess Pieces” and I really liked it so I’ll give this a shot.
Jim: I want to check this book out also, I like the slice of life books on occasion.

Connective Tissue (W/A) Bob Fingerman
Video store clerk Darla Vogel is fed up. Fed up with her job, her wake-and-bake roommate, everything. But when one of the customers at Kwok's Video, a precocious home-schooled kid with dreams of chemically engineering authentic meat-flavoring, offers her some of his meat-tinged candies, Darla takes a plunge down the rabbit hole into a surreal world of throbbing, veinous buildings, compulsory public nudity, weird creatures and more. If William S. Burroughs, Lewis Carroll, H.P. Lovecraft and Harvey Kurtzman had a mutant lovechild, it might resemble Bob Fingerman's bold new confection Connective Tissue. Fingerman, a cartoonist and novelist best known for an acclaimed graphic novel (Beg the Question, a Gen X classic with 'dialogue worthy of the stage' according to Entertainment Weekly) and an acclaimed prose novel (Bottomfeeder, which Booklist described as 'at the front ranks of its genre' in a starred review), merges his two favorite disciplines in Connective Tissue, a genre-bending and medium-mixing work best described as a fully illustrated novella. Fingerman's visuals complement and supplement his crackling prose, giving vivid life to the surreal world and people that populate the story. Connective Tissue will further escalate Fingerman's reputation as a master of genre fiction, regardless of the medium. $19.99
Lee: Ooops, let me correct my earlier comment. I'm not getting the other Fingerman book, I'm getting this one. It reminds me of "Recess Pieces" which had excellent art and some awesomely biting satire. I'll let you know how it is in a couple of months.
Jim: Maybe we can compare notes or swap books as I would lean towards the other book first.

Hill & Wang
Beats Graphic History HC (W) Harvey Pekar, Paul Buhle (A) Ed skor
In The Beats: A Graphic History, those who were mad to live come back to life through artwork as pulsatingly vibrant as the movement itself. Told by Harvey Pekar and his frequent artistic collaborator Ed skor, and by a range of artists and writers, including feminist comic creator Trina Robbins and MAD Magazine artist Peter Kuper, The Beats takes us on a wild tour. From the Benzedrine-fueled antics of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs to the painting sessions of Jay DeFeo's disheveled studio, from the jazz hipsters to beatnik chicks, from Chicago's beatnik bistro to San Francisco's famed City Lights bookstore, we see the storied era in all its incarnations. Hardcover W/Dustjacket. $22.00
Lee: This sounds really interesting. It appears to be a graphic novel history of counter culture which is probably the only way I'll ever learn anything about the movement.
Jim: I can tell you about Lee, I was young but lived through that period. Of course I was 10 in 1965.

Houghton Mifflin Company
Best American Comics 2008 HC (W/A) Various
This newest addition to the Best American series returns with a set of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Lynda Barry and brand-new series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden, acclaimed cartoonists in their own right, culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the web to create this cutting-edge collection, 'perfect for newbies as well as fans' (San Diego Union-Tribune). This volume features such luminaries as Chris Ware, Seth, and Alison Bechdel alongside beloved daily cartoonists like Matt Groening. Hardcover W/Dustjacket. $22.00
Lee: If you’re new to independent comics and wonder what all the hub bub is, then this is a good place to start. The “Best American Comics” series always has a nice cross section of the latest non-men in tights comics. If you already get a stack of indies like I do then don’t worry about it.
Jim: It does appear to be a great sampler.

IDW Publishing
Completely Doomed SC Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, David J. Schow, Paul F. Wilson (w), Ashley Wood, Ted McKeever, Kristian Donaldson, etc. (a); Ashley Wood (c)
This special collection hearkens back to the best creepy, eerie horror comics of yesteryear, only these feature the added bonus of being adapted from stories by horror literature legends Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, David J. Schow, and Paul F. Wilson by comics luminaries like Ashley Wood, Ted McKeever, and many more. Completely Doomed features the Eisner-nominated 'Blood Son' by Wood and Chris Ryall, and fifteen other adapted tales of wretched excess and predestined downfall, all presided over by the macabre madame, Ms. Doomed. $19.99
Lee: This isn’t a new release but it’s worth mentioning because I already own this and love it. If you are looking for great horror stories with great art then this is the book for you. Doomed was a short lived magazine ala Creepy that IDW did years ago. My only complaint was that I already knew all the stories so the endings weren’t as shocking as they might have been. All the stories are adaptions of short print stories. In other words, if you read a lot of books other than comics then you probably already know the stories.
Jim: See this is a book I would have missed if not for Lee picking it out and now he just cost me $20.


PS - Gwen has been busy with real life and has had to pass on her normally weekly post, but will be back next week.

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