Friday, July 24, 2009

Indies Preview Review for September Part 2 of 3

HERE WE ARE BACK FOR PART 2 - When last we check in Jim and his version of Robin (Lee) where discussing how much money they talk themselves into spending every month.

Fanfare / Ponent Mon
Summit of the Gods Vol. 02 GN by (W) Yumemakura Baku (A) Jiro Taniguchi
Did the truth about George Mallory's ascent of Everest in 1924 die with him on those unforgiving slopes? Or was the secret buried deep within a simple camera? Photographer Fukamachi seeks the truth of this 75 year-old enigma and enlists the help of fabled mountaineer Habu Joji and his journal to recover the lost history. $25.00
Lee: This was a borderline pick for me. The cover is so-so but a story that will provide some insight into Mallory’s Everest hike is sure tempting. Combined with the fact that Fanfare doesn’t publish fluff makes this a very tempting book indeed.
Jim: The story itself almost makes this book a must for me. It sounds like a fascinating story, need a preview to be absolute sure.

Fantagraphics Books
Squirrel Machine HC by (W/A) Hans Rickheit
AN ANACHRONISTIC PARABLE FOR THE CONVULSIVE ELITE What is the squirrel machine? Is it a rodent ensnarement device? A mechanism for concealing one's guarded harvest? An anachronistic fable? A meaning less diversion? Set in a fictional 19th Century New England town, the narrative initially details the relationship and maturation of Edmund and William Torpor. But the two brothers quickly elicit the scorn and recrimination of an unamused public when they reveal their musical creations built from strange technologies and scavenged animal carcasses. Driven to seek concealment for their aberrant activities, they make a startling discovery. Perhaps they will divine the mystery of the squirrel machine. What is The Squirrel Machine? An immutably strange and haunting narrative that transcends known logics and presumptive dream-barriers; A distillation of subconscious beauty and inspired madness; A dangerous object for the incautious; A revelation for the undernourished crypto-seeker; The virgin caress of unconsummated apocalypse; The unspeakable thing that you always knew. It's also the longest and most ambitious graphic novel by legendary obscurantist cartoonist Hans Rickheit, 200 pages of exquisitely rendered pictorial narrative. Meticulous, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this enigmatic work will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will take exposure to vast quantities of mediocrity to dispel. $18.99. Visit Rickheit here
Lee: I have to give credit for whoever write Fantagraphics hype because it’s good. This is a beautiful tease because on one hand I have no clue what’s going on, but on the other hand I’ve extremely curious to see what the heck this is about. You'll get a good idea about Rickheit's material from his online comics at the link. Very interesting indeed. I don’t know if it will be good but I’ll try it.
Jim: Okay the hype is excellent. It entices without revealing too much, like a low cut blouse. I hope Lee buys it so I can borrow it.

Strange Suspense: Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 01 HC
OVER 200 PAGES OF VINTAGE, PRE-SPIDER-MAN, PRECOMICS CODE HORROR COMICS FROM STEVE DITKO In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in Oct. 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko's imagination. This book will, for the first time, feature spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Beginning with Ditko's very first story to Ditko's short stint in the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby studio, to Ditko's eventual encampment at the Charlton Comics operation in 1954, readers will see the initial works of an artist already at a level of craftsmanship that exceeded most of his peers. The book will also feature editor Bell's insightful historical notes, as well as a series of short essays by some of the comic book industry giants - Daniel Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez, etc. - who will speak to Ditko's influence and his unique craft. 7.25 x 9.5, HC, 224 pages, FC, $39.99
Lee: I’m not sure anything needs to be said about this. It’s gonna be fantastic and it’s gonna be at my house. I only hope Jim has enough room on his shelves for it.
Jim: It's already has a space. I knocked off a few Essentials and Showcases and dusted off a nice spot for this baby. Yes I love Ditko and I'm still pissed DC has not done a reprint of his Creeper and Hawk & Dove work as one volume.

You Are There HC (W) Jean-Claude Forest (A) Jacques Tardi
THE SATIRICAL MASTERPIECE THAT USHERED IN THE GRAPHIC NOVEL ERA TO EUROPEAN COMICS... FINALLY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH One of the earliest full-length, standalone graphic novels to be published in Europe, and certainly one of the best and most original, Ici Même was serialized in the adult French comics monthly in the early 1980s and then released in book form. A quarter of a century later, this dark, funny, consistently surprising masterpiece has finally been translated into English. An unexpected yet smoothly confident collaboration between the darkly cynical Jacques Tardi and the playful fantasist Jean-Claude Forest (of Barbarella fame), You Are There is set on a small island off the coast of France, where unscrupulous landowners have succeeded in overtaking the land from the last heir of a previously wealthy family. That heir, whose domain, in a Beckettian twist, is now reduced to the walls that border these patches of land he used to own, prowls the walls all day, eking out a living by collecting tolls at each gate. His seemingly hopeless struggle to recover his birthright becomes complicated as the government sees a way of using his plight for the sake of political expediency, and the romantic intervention of the daughter of one of the landowners (who has her own sordid history with the politician) engenders further difficulties, culminating in an apocalyptic, hallucinatory finale. $26.99
Lee: One of Europe’s most influential artists pairs up with the man who wrote Barbarella, what’s not to like? I’m sure this will be very good and very interesting.
Jim: What's not to like. Did you see Barbarella, I mean you need to be on serious drugs for that movie. Now that Lee has been to France, how are we going to keep him down on the farm?

West Coast Blues HC by (W) Jean-Patrick Manchette (A) Jacques Tardi
A SAVAGE NOIR THRILLER REUNITING A MASTER CRIME NOVELIST AND A SUPERLATIVE FRENCH CARTOONIST. George Gerfaut, aimless young executive and desultory family man, witnesses a murder and finds himself sucked into a spiral of violence involving an exiled war criminal and two hired assassins. Adapting to the exigencies of his new life on the run with shocking ease, Gerfaut abandons his comfortable middle-class life for several months (including a sojourn in the countryside after an attempt to ride the rails turns spectacularly bad) until, joined with a new ally, he finally returns to settle all accounts... with brutal, bloody interest. Released in 2005, West Coast Blues (Le Petit bleu de la côte ouest) is Tardi's adaptation of a popular 1976 novel by the French crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette. This is the kind of graphic novel that Quentin Tarantino would love, and a double shot of Scotch for any fan of unrelenting, uncompromising crime fiction. $18.99
Lee: I’m going on a limb and guess most of the ComicsAnd… readers have no clue who Tardi is. But, as luck would have it, I have a couple of his books in my collection. He is an excellent artist and fantastic story teller. Add that to an excellent crime novel and I’m sure this will be good. If you’re into crime fiction I guarantee a good read.
Jim: See it is all about the French now with Lee. Ohh la, la, bonjour and all that other froggie stuff. Geez now he will never stop going native on us.

Hermes Press
Phantom Complete Dailies Vol. 01: 1936-1938 HC by (W) Lee Falk (A) Ray Moore
The first, original, and best masked hero to ever grace the pages of comic strips and comic books returns with Hermes Press' new complete reprint of The Phantom! Debuting in newspapers well before the Dark Knight or Superman made their first appearances, The Phantom has been acknowledged as an influence on every 'masked man of mystery' since. Hermes Press will offer the entire run of the comic strip, which will span over seventy years of The Phantom legend, ending with artist Sy Barry's run on the strip in 1994, giving a whole new generation of readers and fans of the 'Ghost Who Walks' a chance to revisit the series all over again. $39.99
Lee: Sadly, I think I might have to pass on this. It isn’t because I’m not interested. I am supremely intrigued by this but I can’t afford everything this month. There’s just so much good stuff that I actually have to eliminate something. Sorry Phantom, maybe next month.
Jim: That's okay because it is more for me, it's mine, mine, mine. Oh wait I'm not an Orange Lantern or Daffy Duck, but it is coming home with me. The Phantom was a cool strip and I have never read it from the start.

Hill & Wang
Trotsky HC by (W/A) Rick Geary
Trotsky was a hero to some, a ruthless demon to others. To Stalin, he was such a threat that he warranted murder by pickaxe.Renowned comic artist Rick Geary uses his distinct style to depict the stark reality of the man and his times. Trotsky's life becomes a guide to the creation of the Soviet Union, the horrors of World War I, and the establishment of international communism. Ranging from his boyhood in the Ukraine to his conflict with Stalin and his romance with Frida Kahlo, Trotsky is a stunning look at one of the 20th Century's most important figures. $16.95
Lee: Everyone should realize by now, if Geary’s in the credits then I’m going to mention it. And, that’s exactly why I picked this book. Between his “Treasury of Murder” series, and “Adventures of Blanche”, Geary hasn’t written a bad book in years.
Jim:Lee has sold me on Geary's work also. Well researched, well written, well drawn, educational, informative and entertaining.

Hudson Street Press
Vlad the Impaler Man Who Was Dracula GN by (W) Sid Jacobson (A) Ernie Colon
The Dracula myth has sparked a legacy of endlessly entertaining creepy tales. The fictional character, originally penned by Bram Stoker, was inspired by and named after a real-life fiend - Prince Vlad Dracul, the 15th-century ruler of Wallachia, a man infmaous for massacring and impaling his enemies. Vlad the Impaler tells the ghastly prince's life story, from his childhood to his love life to his brutal war against the Turkish infidels. $25.95
Lee: I only picked this because of Ernie Colon’s artwork. He’s one of the underappreciated masters of the medium and I always support his work. The story sounds interesting too, but this is pure art pick for me.
Jim: While I agree it sounds interesting and Colon was a good artist, not sure I would call him a master, but I agree you could argue the point.

IDW Publishing
Rip Kirby Vol. 01 HC by (W/A) Alex Raymond
Edited and designed by Eisner Award-winner Dean Mullaney, the strips are reproduced from pristine syndicate proofs that will allow readers to see, for the first time, the full luxurious detail of Raymond's brushwork. Includes a biographical and historic essay by Brian Walker, and an introduction by Raymond biographer and authority Tom Roberts. HC o BW. 320 pages. 11 x 10' $49.99
Lee: This is a really, really tough call. On one hand I want this book. But, I have IDW’s Scorchy Smith by Noel Sickles book and it’s almost impossible to read. It looks great on my shelf but the pages are so heavy they almost tear themselves away from the cover. I have no doubt about the quality of the story, art, and extras but it may actually be too big for me.
Jim: I have books like that. The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus is just too frelling big to read and enjoy. For me this is a pass, but the art makes it sound tempting.

Torpedo Vol. 01 HC by (W) Enrique Sanchez Abuli (A) Jordi Bernet, Alex Toth
The story of a gangster whose life is traced from the innocence of childhood to amoral adulthood, and nearly every stop explored along the way. Abuli's distinctive narrative builds the story over time and Jordi Bernet's masterful renditions of the title character are stunningly cinematic-Torpedo is the Godfather of comics, in both subject matter and execution. HC. B&W. 160 pages. 7 x 11, $24.99
Lee: Absolutely one of the best crime comics EVER! I’ve gave Jim some reprints of these and even he liked them. These stories aren’t for kids because they are violent. But they are very, very good. And the best part is beautiful artwork by Bernet and Toth at their creative peaks. This is not to be missed. And, in case you were wondering, Torpedo is mafia slang for hit man.
Jim: Thanks for the 411 Lee, come on we all know what a Torpedo is. I'm on this book like white on Rice. I love Jordi Benet's art in attention to the story and add in Toth it is like a pure golden bonus.

Waiting Place GN by (W) Sean McKeever (A) Mike Norton, Brendon & Brian Fraim, David Yurkovich
Collected for the first time in a single volume, this highly-acclaimed teen drama of spinning wheels and racing hearts helped make Eisner Award-winning writer Sean McKeever (Spider-Man Love Mary Jane, Teen Titans) and fan-favorite artist Mike Norton (Green Arrow/Black Canary, Runaways) into mainstream comic-book mainstays. This edition also includes a brand-new story by McKeever and Norton, making it a must-have for long-time fans and new readers alike. TPB, B&W, 456 pages, 6 x 9, $29.99
Lee: McKeever has been writing great people stories for a very long time. In fact, his slice-o-life stories are what originally got him noticed. I’m not a big fan of his superhero stuff, but this material is very good.
Jim: This book misses the mark for me due to budgetary constraints. I can only get so much this month and this will have to wait until another day.

Zomnibus Vol. 01 GN by (W) Chris Ryall, Shane McCarthy, El Torres (A) Ashley Wood, Chris Bolton, Yair Herrera
They stalk, they rot, they eat flesh, they're the walking dead for Pete's sake. What's not to love about zombies?! Ranging from the seriously scary Feast!, to the urban sprawl of Eclipse of the Undead, and finally ending with the stylings of Ashley Wood in The Complete Zombies vs. Robots, you'll be hard-pressed to find this much zombie fodder anywhere, at any price. TPB. Full Color. 380 pages. 6 x 9, $24.99
Lee: This is a great way to read an entertaining little series. I already have the big oversized hc’s because I love Ashley Wood’s art. But, if you just want to read and enjoy then buy this.
Jim: Between Walking Dead and Blackest Night I'm a little Zombied out.

Grimwoods Daughter HC by (w) Jan Strnad (a & c) Kevin Nowlan
Grimwood's Daughter chronicles the last days of the elves in their desperate war against man, magician, and dragon. Artist Kevin Nowlan's powerful images elevate Jan Strnad's dark, cautionary tale into a true gem of fantasy fiction, a graphic fable that is compelling, timeless and unforgettable. This special hardcover edition includes a special section with Nowlan sketches and preliminaries! FC, 64 pages, 7 x 10, $12.99
Lee: This is expensive but this is an absolutely amazing book! Originally serialized in the back of the comic book Dalgoda, this is some of Kevin Nowlan's first work. And, as a first time artist, he poured his heart and soul into this. Artistically, it's breathtaking. And, as a double bonus the story is very, very good too. It's well, well worth the money.
Jim: I remeber Dalgoda, but I barely remember this story. $13 for 64 pages is not total horrible when you consider 22 pages for $4, so could be worth taking a flyer and ordering this book.

Knockabout Comics
Fat Freddy's Cat Omnibus by (W/A) Gilbert Shelton
Fat Freddy's Cat began life as a footnote strip to the Freak Brothers and later appeared in many comics of his own. The never-ending army of roaches out for world domination drive him to distraction, as does Fat Freddy's failure to feed him or empty his kitty litter box. This cat has traveled to Mexico, saved the world from alien invasion, and worked as a government agent in Washington trying to save the world from the 'hee hee hee' drug. Collected in one massive volume, Fat Freddy's Cat will appeal to the sarcastic cat-lover in all of us. $29.99 Here is sample of the FF Cat. It's one of the very few that I could find without swearing or drug references... but it's still great.
Lee: Fat Freddy’s Cat is one of the true gems of underground comix ! This is a companion to the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros collection and I will be getting it. Be warned, this is true comix and not for kids. It’s hilariously funny, just not for kids.
Jim: I just never got into this material. Not sure why, but it generates zero interest in me.

Part 3 - Coming Soon - YES WE HAVE - or LEE HAS EVEN MORE PICKS

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