Artist Himself: Rand Holmes Retrospective SC by (W) Patrick Rosenkranz
Rand Holmes was Canada's most revolutionary artist in his heyday, the star cartoonist at the Georgia Straight newspaper in British Columbia during the 1970s. His hippie hero, Harold Hedd, became the spokesman of the emerging counterculture as he avoided work, explored free love, and flouted drug laws. The Adventures of Harold Hedd spread across the globe in the wave of underground comix and newspapers of the era and Holmes became famous - or at least notorious. While his comic character was bold and blatant, the artist was shy and quiet, well on his way to becoming a complete hermit. This book is an intimate and expansive account of a very private man who expressed his deepest feelings in the then disreputable medium of comix. "He didn't talk much but he sure wrote a lot," avowed his widow Martha. This biography/retrospective includes generous selections from his private journals and correspondence, family photo albums, sketchbooks, and personal anecdotes from his friends and colleagues. His artistic history began haltingly on the lonely windswept plateau of Edmonton, flourished in Vancouver and San Francisco, and concluded peacefully on Lasqueti Island, a remote backwater in the Straits of Georgia where he lived out his dreams of pioneering and homesteading. Holmes' life story is richly illustrated with drawings, comic strips, watercolors, and paintings that span his whole career, from the hot rod cartoons he drew as a teenager, dozens of covers for the Georgia Straight, pornographic cartoons for the sex tabloid Vancouver Star, to complete comic stories from Slow Death Funnies, Dope Comix, All Canadian Beaver, Death Rattle, Grateful Dead Comix, and many more. The full-length Harold Hedd comic novels, Wings Over Tijuana and Hitler's Cocaine are reprinted in their entirety together for the first time. This unique collection of art documents a lifetime of work by one of the most talented artists of his generation. Holmes died in March 2002 from Hodgkin's lymphoma, and his ashes are buried next to the Art Centre he helped build on Lasqueti Island. A retrospective exhibition of his original work was held five years later at the community hall. A DVD documentary of that event accompanies this book. Author Patrick Rosenkranz met Holmes in his salad days and remained in touch throughout his life. The Holmes family gave him complete access to their art collection and personal files, and encouraged him to tell the whole truth about Rand Holmes' life and work. $39.99 Read about Holmes here.
Lee: I cannot wait to get this. Rand Holmes was an amazing artist and creator. I’ve lots of his later material when he was working on Death Rattle for Kitchen Sink. This is a cheap and easy way to see what underground comix were. Not to mention you get a dvd too. This is a keeper.
Jim: I have become more interested in this type of material the older I get. It is not enough to just love and enjoy the medium but I want to know more about it and the creators, this sounds like a very cool book.
Crusades Vol. 01: Knight HC by (W) Steven T. Seagle (A) Kelley Jones
The Dark Ages Begin Again An enigmatic 11th century Crusader has come to render a terrible justice on the citizens of 21st century San Francisco. His acts of unspeakable violence spark a firestorm of moral soul-searching in the hearts and minds of the city's most colorful figures. Putting together the pieces of the Knight's mysteriously brutal puzzle is the voluptuous Venus Kostopikas, a fact checker for a dying newspaper with aspirations to rise above her station and lead her own crusade. This first of two skull-crushing, re-mastered volumes collects - for the first time - the macabre $29.99
Lee: I’ll probably get this because of Jones’s art. There aren’t many hc’s full of his work out there so I have to get them when I can. I have the series and I remember it being pretty good. I think it was complex enough that I got lost on the monthly so I’m betting it’s better in one sitting.
Jim: I remember the monthly as being incomprehensible as I would get lost between issues, but I also remember liking this book quite a bit. Hard to go wrong if you are a Kelly Jones fan and I'm also signing up for this book.
Chew Omnivore Ed. Vol. 01 HC by (W) John Layman (A) Rob Guillory
"JUST DESSERTS," Part Three Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases. This gorgeous oversized edition, loaded with extras, follows Tony for the first ten issue of IGN.com's pick for "Best Indie Series of 2009," and MTV Splash Page's "Best New Series of 2009." Collects the New York Times best selling "Taster's Choice," as well as the follow-up story-arc "International Flavor" $34.99
Lee: This is interesting and not necessarily in a good way. One the plus side is the fancy hc. I gotta admit, I love it. But, I was specifically waiting for this. I purposely avoided the trade in hopes this would come out. So, the question, is Image cannibalizing it’s own market by releasing this as quickly as they did.
Jim: Love this book and have been enjoying this series, but it is not a hard cover want of mine.
Raw Studios LLC
Alien Pig Farm 3000 SC by (W) Thomas Jane, Todd Farmer, Steve Niles (A) Don Marquez
We know what happens when aliens attack the White House, and we've got a pretty good idea of what happens when they attack Sigourney Weaver, but what happens when a race of pig-eating, flesh-gnarling sonsofbeans attack a Kentucky moonshining town? Well. You best put your feet up, sit a spell and kiss yer sister on the mouth "cuz you about to find out. It's gonna be up to Johnny Ray to kick some green-skinned butt and keep his moronic brother Elvis out of trouble, while protecting the sister he loves. It's aliens, rednecks, and rednecks! $14.99 A link to our review here, and the Raw website here.
Lee: I had to pick this. Todd Farmer was the first ‘pro’ to ever write us here at ComicsAnd. I know I picked up the series and enjoyed the heck out of it. I’ll get the trade and show it to my French friends, “you wanna know what America is really like? Here, read this.”
Jim: Just a fantastic series and I wander what Todd Farmer is up to, I'll have to try and remember to check up his blog and see what he is doing. This was an out and out fan book and if nothing else the Dave Stevens cover is worth the price of admission. I wish Raw Studios would do more comics.
Rebellion / 2000AD
Complete Als Baby GN by (W) John Wagner (A) Carlos Ezquerra
The mobsters govern the city of Chi-Town and the toughest of the tough is Al Bestardi, also known as Al the Beast. Al gets an offer he can't refuse and the hardest hitman in town has to get pregnant. Machine guns mix with morning sickness in a classic comedy sci-fi tale from the pages of 2000 AD! $28.99
Lee: If anyone can pull this kind of twisted silliness off it’s Wagner. From what I read about this series, it's Wagner without a lot of restraint and having read lots of Wagner, I can only assume I'm in for one crazy ride. Add, classic art by Ezquerra and I’m trying it.
Jim: Oh if this was by anyone else I would say pass, but Wagner and Ezquerra are definitely able to pull this type of premise off and make you laugh.
Top Shelf Productions
Ax Vol. 01: Collection of Alternative Manga SC by (W/A) Various
Ax is the premier Japanese magazine for alternative comics. Published bi-monthly for over ten years now, Ax contains the most creative and cutting-edge works of independent comics from the world's largest comics industry. Now Top Shelf presents a 400-page collection of stories from ten years of Ax history, translated into English for the first time! This groundbreaking book includes work by 33 artists, including Yoshihiro Tatsumi (A Drifting Life), Imiri Sakabashira (The Box Man), Kazuichi Hanawa (Doing Time), Akino Kondoh, Shin'ichi Abe, and many many more! $29.95
Lee: As soon as I read “alternative manga” I was done. Sold. Send me my copy now. I’ve read some of the Underground Manga and that stuff is trippy enough. I wonder what the Alternative stuff is. This should be crazy fun.
Jim: I get the feeling your retailer will have this book in a brown paper bag under their counter with your name on it.
Thin Black Line: Perspectives on Vince Colletta SC by (W) Robert L. Bryant
Vince Colletta is perhaps the most prolific comic book inker ever, and certainly the most controversial. He jumped in at the last minute to rescue hundreds of comic books about to miss their printing deadline, often racing through the work of artists who fans say he should have worshiped. Join Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Mark Evanier, and dozens of other comics pros as they recall the Vince Colletta they knew and worked with, and pull no punches in their praise and criticism of the most notorious inker in the history of the medium. $14.95
Lee: The hype is perfect for this book because Colletta is certainly the most controversial figure of the silver age I can think of. The little know truth is that he’s a great artist. And, if you look at his work when he’s wasn’t crushed by a deadline, it’s very, very good.
Jim: To call it the thin black line is comical. Hey Vince may have been all Lee says he was and maybe it was all about deadlines but he hacked out some awful stuff and took great artwork and made it ordinary or worse. I respect he was making a living and he was a product of his times, it does not make his inking good.
Art of Neal Adams HC (W/A) Neal Adams
From his Ben Casey newspaper strip to Creepy magazine work to groundbreaking comic books, Neal Adams' work serves as an inspiration for every illustrator who works in the field. Coinciding with the launch of his Continuity Studio, Adams expanded into cutting-edge advertising work, amusement park ride design, magazine illustration, animation, and paperback book covers. Included in this collection are classic and rare works spanning the artist's noted career and a unique selection of Neal's seldom-seen paintings. Fully annotated by the artist, this is the one we have all waited for. Also available is a Deluxe Signed Slipcased Edition, which comes with 16 additional pages of vintage Adams artwork. $39.95
Lee: I’m really on the fence with this book. Vanguard has outstanding production values and I know the book will be top notch. But I have so many of Adam’s stories in hc already that I’m not sure I need an art book about him. Then again, this appears to focus on his material after he left comics and I don’t have anything about that. My only recommendation, if you’re going to get this book, spend the extra dollar or two and get the additional pages. They’ll be worth it.
Jim: Pass. I love Adams work but I have tons of it in a lot of high end hard covers and do not need this in my collection.
Lee: Gotta say, lots and lots of good stuff this month. But, I think Top Shelf wins for best book because I’m looking forward to the Alterna-Manga.
Jim: Since we added a part 3 that was unexpected, end comments seem premature. Still always some very cool and off the beaten path material to be had in the indies.