Thursday, May 28, 2009

Indies Preview Review for July Part 2 of 3

We now return you to our regularly scheduled previews reviews with the last of the July reviews barely making it into the proper month. Now Part 2 - when last we left Lee and Jim were commenting on books, let's look in and listen again....

Fantagraphics Books
Scrublands GN by John Daly
Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce the debut collection of John Daly, the first book the company has published by a South African cartoonist. Daly's cartoons, offbeat, hallucinatory, and often hilarious, seems descendant from the substance-induced work of Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Victor Moscoso, and S. Clay Wilson, filtered through the artist's own unique vision and sense of the absurd. Stories alternate between full-color and black-and-white, and range from representational Jim Jarmusch-like scenarios to wild visual excursions, albeit linear ones. $16.95

Lee: Stoner comics from South Africa, what’s not to like about this book???? The best description I can find is 126 pages foe $17, 70 of which are devoted to a wordless color voyage into psychedelic questing, sexual landscapes, and semi-sci-fi spiritualism. For art fans like me, this sounds great.
Jim: Yeah, great, great. This sounds really interesting like watching grass grow or paint dry. Who knows it maybe great, but this is not selling me on it. Plus unless it is about growing up in South Africa, why is it important as to where the artist is from. So important it is the first line in the solicitation.

Red Monkey Double Happiness Book HC by (W/A) Joe Daly
'I live in Cape Town. It's a beautiful, dirty, dangerous, laid back port town on the tip of Southern Africa where the people drive fast and talk slow,' narrates Dave, aka the Red Monkey, in The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, Joe Daly's sensational follow up to his debut short story collection Scrublands (a 2006 Ignatz Award Nominee) The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book features two of Dave's adventures: 'The Leaking Cello Case' and 'John Wesley Harding.' In the introductory story, Dave, who is equipped with monkey feet that enable him to climb most anything, has a Very Bad Day until - accompanied by his didgeridoo-wielding, freeloading friend Paul and assisted by his babysitting charge Chu Woo - he solves a mystery, getting the girl in the process. 'John Wesley Harding' is a tale stuffed to the gills with with action, adventure, conspiracy theories and weed, as Dave and Paul, in their quest to find a missing capybara named after the Bob Dylan album, stumble across an environmental menace with criminal implications. In this full-color graphic novel, Daly expertly cartoons the Cape Town milieu, the wetlands that surround it, and the ethnically diverse oddballs who occupy it. Dave and Paul, a well-meaning pair of stoners in the tradition of Cheech and Chong or Harold and Kumar, not only get into hilarious trouble in their rambles, but also ask the larger questions, such as 'what the hell am I doing with my life?' and 'what steps can I personally take to help protect the earth and the other species that inhabit it?' (though most people's answers to these questions don't include sword fights and hovercrafts) The South African cartoonist brings a refreshingly original -and utterly hilarious- voice to the comics medium, a dry, deadpan wit anchored in everyday reality combined with an outrageously deranged plot, rendered in a style that somehow successfully merges detailed representational drawing with bigfoot cartooning. The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, which is sometimes noirish, often funny and always politically incorrect, is well-suited to older teens and adults. $22.99

Lee: Now, if you don’t want to read the Joe Daly’s Scrubland because it sounds just a little too weird for you, then you can try this. Red Monkey is far more of a story. Granted it’s a story like the Undergrounds of the 70’s but it’s still a story. You can’t go wrong picking either book.
Jim: This is closer to something that I would try. I know I mention this a lot, but it would be great if more comic stories could afford to carry this stuff on speculation, but since the direct market does not allow returns, there is little incentive to try some of this material as a retailer.

Harper Collins Publishers
Neil Gaiman Coraline SC by (W) Neil Gaiman (W/A) P. Craig Russell
New York Times-best selling novel and new childrens classic Coraline springs to life as a gorgeously adapted graphic novel! When Coraline steps through a door in her familys new house, she finds another house, strangely similar to her own, only better. But theres another mother there and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go! This beloved tale becomes a visual feast as artist P. Craig Russell brings Neil Gaimans enchanting, nationally best selling childrens book to new life. $9.99

Lee: I’m sure I picked this before but I’ll pick it again in case you skipped the more expensive hc. Gaiman is at the top of his game with this excellent fairy tale. It’s more Grimm’s Fairy Tales than you would think. A very good fantasy novel with incredible art by Russell.
Jim: Agreed.

IDW Publishing
Angora Napkin GN by (W/A) Troy Little
Halloween is upon us. Historically this ancient event has been identified as the day in which the boundary between the living and the dead becomes unstable. It is on this fateful night that we find Beatrice, Molly and Mallory, the pop music group known as Angora Napkin, crossing paths with the wandering dead. Thats how they meet Dennis, the zombie boy, who agrees to eradicate all life on Earth. Now, the girls of Angora Napkin must stop the horror they’ve unwittingly released (and make it to their gig on time)! $19.99

Lee: I already have this book but Angora Napkin was excellent. A very entertaining humor and zombies book.
Jim: Lee has a man-crush on Troy. He loves this stuff and every time it is solicited we will see it picked.
Lee: Maybe I should pick Proof from Image more often! Hello Mr. Kettle.

Richard Stark's Parker the Hunter HC by (W/A) Darwyn Cooke
Darwyn Cooke, the Eisner-Award-winning writer/artist of such classics as DC: The New Frontier, Selina's Big Score, and The Spirit, now sets his artistic sights on bringing to life one of the true classics of crime fiction: Richard Stark's Parker. Stark was a pseudonym used by the revered and multi-award-winning author, Donald Westlake. The Hunter, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest. Betrayed by the woman he loved and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind-to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him! HC. Full Color. 144 pages. 6 x 9 $24.99

Jim: I'm a huge fan of noir comics and I love Darwyn Cooke's work, so for me this is a no brainer even at $25. I hope it is as good as the preview I read.
Lee: I have no doubt this will be good. Is there anyone who doesn't like Cooke's work?

King Hell
King Hell Signature Series Vol. 01: Epic Pack SC by Rick Veitch & Various
Three signed editions of Rick Veitch's masterful EPIC collections in one specially priced pack! Over 250 pages of mind-bending stories and lush painted art in three beautiful volumes: Abraxas and the Earthman, Heartburst and Other Pleasures, and Shiny Beasts. Includes collaborations with Alan Moore and S.R. Bissette unavailable anywhere else. And to top it off, each book in the pack is personally signed by Rick Veitch! $45.95
Lee: These trades have been in print for a long time but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good. These are collections of Veitch’s early work and also some of his best work. What’s really nice is that all the books are signed! And, for not that much over cover price. It’s worth considering.
Jim: Veitch is very hit or miss for me and his work is often almost too undergroundish for me. Other times I find his view points to be fascinating.

Mirage Studios
TMNT Collected Book Vol. 01 SC by (W/A) Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
Mirage Studios proudly celebrates its 25th anniversary by reprinting the classic first eleven issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles along with the four micro-series by creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird! Over 540 pages of martial arts action as only the two masterminds of mutant mayhem could depict! An ideal opportunity to relive the glorious days of the Turtles' origins as well as an excellent place for new readers to see where the Turtles phenomena began! $29.95

Lee: I know Jim isn’t a fan but I can’t wait for this. The original TMNT has been out of print for far too long. These stories were actually quite good and far different from the cartoon drivel that was produced from it. The only question, get this now and let my kid destroy it or wait for the hardcover and let my kid destroy that?
Jim: Lee is correct I'm not a big fan of this stuff, but I do love the whole story of how this stuff made Eastman and Laird a boatload of money.
Lee: True true. But the story of how Eastman proceeded to LOSE a boatload of money is even more interesting.

Part 3 of TOMORROW!

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