Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indies Previews for December Part 2 of 3

Continued from yesterday...

Blank Slate

Nelson GN by (W/A) Various
Over fifty of the UK's most interesting comic creators have taken part in this unique collaboration. One continuous tale takes us from 1968 to the present with one chapter for every year, each of those chapters recording the events of one day in the life of one woman. A life told in snapshots. Nel Baker's life. Nelson embraces all aspects of comics storytelling across a wide spectrum of UK-based creators, uniting established talents from 2000AD, DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, The Beano, and The Dandy with small press, Web comic and newspaper strip artists in one intriguing story. Nelson is an unprecedented anthology, a crazy experiment that is part exquisite corpse and part relay race, and best of all, an all-consuming novel like nothing you have seen before. $37.99
Lee: Hummm, this is either going to be really, really good or really, really bad. It’s like an anthology title with each creator getting 1-2 pages. These types of thing are really hard to pull off so I’m hoping the fact that they actually decided to publish it means it’s good.
Thomm: The page counts is one of the things that make me wonder. I don’t see one for the whole project and I don’t see anything saying how long each segment is. If it’s just 1-2 pages per creator, there’s not much room to work, and a whole lot of chance to lose any kind of coherent thread. With a good editor, this could work very well. Without, it could be a mash of unrelated stories of varying quality.

Bliss On Tap
Andie and the Alien GN by (W) Philip Phillipson (A/C) Alex Nino
Over 500 years ago, an alien spaceship crashed in the undiscovered Americas. Rescued by the local natives, the alien promised to protect them by placing a force-field over the Americas -- preventing exploration and colonization of their land -- and altering the course of history as we know it forever. 500 years later, in a world without the United States of America, the Nazis have won World War II and rule absolutely. Until one day, a captured British scientist named Andie, with the help of Albert Einstein (of course!), hatch a plan to rescue the alien and save the future from the Third Reich. $20.00
Lee: The creators’ previous work, God the Dyslexic Dog, was good but not great. It was good enough to interest me in this but the chance to see more Nino art is the main selling point. I’m in for that alone.
Thomm: (I think we know which Phillipson was better liked by his parents.) How much is this book going to delve into the history of this alternate world? Is there a Nazi rise to power without the existence of colonies in the Americas? There wouldn’t have been a defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 if the Spanish had no colonies in the Americas, so the British wouldn’t have risen as a naval power. The British might not have controlled India and large portions of China and Africa, thus leaving them out of any WW I, which the Germans might then have won, meaning no Nazis. Crap. Now I want to know if they answered any of that.

Curio and Co. Og
Gadabout Time Machine Users Manual SC by (W) Kirstie Shepherd (A) Cesare Asaro
The Gadabout TM 1050 Time Machine User's Manual is a satirical manual for the use and upkeep of the Gadabout time machine, manufactured in 2350 by fictional company Cudworth-Hooper. Created by Curio & Co., publishers of the Eisner-nominated book Finding Frank and His Friend, the manual is written in a mockumentary style and filled with hilarious pop culture references - perfect for the humor or science fiction collector. $29.95
Lee: Now this is what everyone needs, a time travel machine users guide. Sadly I can think of more than one person who would love this book.
Thomm: This is a bit specifically tailored. I like a good humor and a sci-fi, but a mock manual? I can’t really justify that.

Eureka Productions
Graphic Classics Vol. 22: African American GN by (W/A) Various
American Classics presents 23 stories and poems by America's earliest black authors, illustrated by contemporary black artists, including Florence Lewis Bentley's Two Americans, adapted by Alex Simmons and Trevor Von Eeden; NAACP founder W.E.B. Du Bois' On Being Crazy, by Kyle Baker; Langston Hughes' The Negro, by Stan Shaw and Afua Richardson; Zora Neale Hurston's short play Filling Station by Arie Monroe and Milton Knight, and many more. $17.95
Lee: I have a couple of the Graphic Classics books and they have always been very entertaining. The have, obviously, classic stories but it’s the art that always appealed to me. It was done by artists outside the mainstream which made it visually interesting too. In this case, the names such as Von Eeden, Simmons, and Baker are huge draws.
Thomm: I really enjoyed Baker’s telling of Nat Turner’s Rebellion, including the art, so having him illustrate W.E.B. DuBois is very appealing. Hard to go wrong with a Langston Hughes story, too.

Fantagraphics Books
Flannery O'Connor: Cartoons HC
by Flannery O'Connor; edited by Kelly Gerald $22.99

Life and Death of Fritz the Cat HC
by R. Crumb $19.99
Lee: This is a two-fer because it really illustrates the cross-over between comics and the real world. While the cartoons of Flannery O'Connor bores me to tears, it’s her novels that appear to be really interesting. To be fair, I have never heard about her until I read a wiki on her, but I am going to see if my Library has a copy of one of her prose novels. As for Fritz, well this is classic pervy Crumb. I’m sure it’s funny and foul and it became a cartoon movie too. Of course it was the first x-rated cartoon movie but still.
Thomm: Ah, Fritz. When I was in college I co-chaired a classic movie committee. We managed to get Fritz the Cat shown as part of the series. A full house, too. Now, O’Connor I got nothing for. Don’t know the books or the toons.

Young Romance: Simon and Kirby 1940 1950 HC by (W) Joe Simon (A) Jack Kirby
In the late 1940s, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby set the comics world on fire with the creation of a genre that resulted in some of the best-selling American comic books of all time: the romance comics. The stories they created were exciting, innovative, and beautifully drawn, and remain a high point in both artists' careers. This book brings this wonderful work back to light by reprinting 21 stories in full-color with 200 pages of never-before reprinted material restored by award-winning artist and animator Michel Gangé. $29.99
Lee: Romance comics were so huge and so important to the comic book industry in the 50’s that it’s mind boggling they don’t exist anymore. But, this will be a fascinating look back full of… to be honest.. unintentially funny stories. I’ll get this and let my daughter read it. It should set back her understanding of the women’s lib movement for decades.
Thomm: Let your son read it so he can learn how to get his face slapped. Well, today a girl’s more likely to punch him. It does make me wonder why publishers don’t try something similar now. There’s a fairly regular course of griping about the shortage of women readers in comics, so something like this with a more modern sensibility ought to help alleviate that shortage. Or maybe it’s just a failure of marketing for the stories that already exist that are aimed at women.

Hermes Press
Smokey Stover and Spooky the Cat Collected Sundays HC by (W/A) Bill Holman
Cartoonist Bill Holman's master creation Smokey Stover returns in the ultimate and final word on this important humor strip which collects the title from its beginning to the end of the feature's run, together with the Spooky the Cat topper! Smokey Stover and Spooky the Cat: The Collected Sundays presents a comprehensive overview of one of the most influential humor strips of the 20th Century. If you love Smokey and Spooky and have been waiting for the strip's most complete collection ever, this is it! $49.99 Visit the official site here
Lee: Ok, I am not an expert on strips by any means but this is beyond me. That said, there is a ton of material out there on this strip so it must have been influential. Right? If it weren’t for the price tag I would pick it up out of curiousity.
Thomm: Yeah, I never heard of this, either. I have to wonder how influential it could be if it’s that anonymous. Terry and the Pirates, Peanuts, Pogo and the like are what I think of as influential in strips. Something about that cover reminds me of Dr Seuss, too.

Tomorrow it ends...

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