Friday, November 27, 2009

Indies Preview Review for January 2010 Part 2 of 3

:01 First Second
Olympians Vol. 01: Zeus King of the Gods HC by (W/A) George O’Connor
This isn't your grandmother's Greek mythology. Myth meets marvel in George OConnor's new series of graphic novels, Olympians, a superhero-sized account of gods and goddesses. Zeus, King of the Gods tells the story of the ruler of the Greek pantheon, from his boyhood to his ascendance to supreme power. Available in Softcover, 9.99 and Hardcover editions. $16.99 Visit George here

Lee: This appeals to me because I love the old greek myths. It doesn’t hurt that O’Conner has published several other books so he’s at least a proven commodity in that sense. And, the fact that :01 First Second is a really picky publisher so the material should be good helps too.
Jim: Well this is just another darn book that Lee is making me buy. I think fans of super hero comics are naturally going to like the old myths as super heroes are a modern myth.

Lee: GOOD FRIGGIN’ LORD does Fantagraphics write long solicitations! I try to cut out some of the fluff but it’s almost impossible because they put very little fluff in there. I’m just venting and WWAAAYYYY down below are Jim's and my comments.

Fantagraphics Books
Almost Silent HC by (W/A) Jason
A DELUXE, HARDCOVER COLLECTION OF FOUR JASON CLASSICS Almost silent packages four original Jason graphic novels - three of them out of print since mid-2008 - into one compact, hardcover omnibus collection. (As the title indicates, this volume favors Jason's pantomime works.) You Can't Get There From Here, the longest story of the book (and the only one to be printed in color - well, a color), tells the tale of a love trian gle involving Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Monster, and The Monster's Bride: Jason cleverly alternates between totally silent sequences involving the three characters and scenes in which Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant discusses the day's events with a fellow hunchbacked assistant to another mad scientist. (You didn't know they had a union?) Tell Me Something is a brisk (271 panels), near-totally-silent (just a few intertitles) graphic novelette about love lost and found again, told with a tricky mixture of forward- and back-flashing narrative. Meow, Baby is a collection of Jason's short stories and gags, and finally, The Living and the Dead is a hilariously deadpan (and gory) take on the traditional Romero-style zombie thriller. All of these yarns star Jason's patented cast of tight-lipped (or -beaked) bird-, dog-, cat- and wolf-people, and show off his compassion and wry wit. Almost silent is a perfect starting point for a new reader wanting to know what the fuss is all about, and a handsome, handy, inexpensive collection for the committed Jason fan. $24.99

Lee: This is semi-odd choice for me. A while back I picked up another Jason collection called "Pocket Full of Rain and other stories." Did not like it at all, but my store said that I'd picked the worst Jason book of the bunch. So I'm willing to try again. I picked this because it was a collection of older, more established work by Jason. He's a great writer & artist and this is a good way to sample his material.
Jim: See that same store owner loaned a couple of Jason books to me and I really enjoyed his work. Yet I'm voting for Low Moon with my dollars.

Low Moon HC by (W/A) Jason
The acclaimed graphic novelist Jason returns with his most eagerly awaited book yet, thanks to the inclusion of the title story, the world's first (and likely last) chess western. Originally serialized in 2008 to a huge (and hugely delighted) audience in the New York Times Sunday Magazine Funny Pages section, Low Moon made Jason's 2008 appearance at the MoCCA Arts Festival in Manhattan the talk of the prestigious show, catapulting the Norwegian star to an even new level of mass appeal. This 216-page hardcover book features five yarns - all brand new with the exception of the aforementioned Low Moon, which is collected into book form for the first time. The new stories lead off with Emily Says Hello, a typically deadpan Jason tale of murder, revenge and sexual domination. Then, the wordless & tells two tales at once: one about a skinny guy trying to steal enough money to save his ill mother, and the other about a fat guy murderously trying to woo his true love. The reason we follow these two parallel stories becomes obvious only on the very last page, in Jason's inimitable genre-mashing style. Early Film Noir can best be described as The Postman Always Rings Twice meets Groundhog Day. But starring cavemen. And finally, You Are Here features alien kidnappings, space travel, and the pain and confusion of family ties, culminating in an enigmatic finale that rivals Jason's greatest twists. Funny, poignant, and wry, Low Moon shows one of the world's most acclaimed graphic novelists at the absolute peak of his powers. $24.99

Jim: I became a fan of Jason's work via books loaned to me by Rusty, my comic book dealer. Like a drug dealer the first couple are free and then you are hooked. Since this contains four new stories and Fantagraphics always produces quality books this was an easy one to choose. Jason's work borders on the sublime, but his work always entertains.
Lee: It's funny, Jim and I almost never pick the same books. So what are the chances that we would pick two books by the same author in the same month. Odds are pretty low. In this case, I still think the older material is the better way to go. But, as my pick was mostly silent, if you want dialogue, I would get this.

King of Flies Vol. 01 HC by (W) Pirus (A) Mezzo
SUBURBAN HORROR DELINEATED IN A LUSH NOIR STYLE Set in a suburb that is both nowhere and everywhere, King of the Flies is a glorious bastard, combining the intricacy and subtlety of the best European graphic novels with a hyperdetailed, controlled noir style derived from the finest American cartoonists. Mezzo and Pirus, previously best known in Europe for a series of cynical, brutal gangster stories, have abandoned their guns and gals for this cycle of suburban stories, but in King of the Flies the violence has just (for the most part) been interiorized. King of the Flies first appears to be a series of unrelated short stories, each starring (and narrated by) a different protagonist, but it soon becomes obvious that these seemingly disparate episodes weave together to form a single complex narrative, with events that are only glimpsed (or even referred to) revisited from different perspectives - revolving around Eric, a neer-do-well, drug-taking teenager at war with his stepfather and, apparently, the whole world. (He is the titular King.) King of the Flies is designed as a trilogy of albums, which will combine to form a single graphic novel of stunning intricacy and intensity. (Vol. 2, The Beginning of All Things, will be released by Fantagraphics in the Summer of 2010.) $18.99

Lee: Fantagraphics has started reprinting some excellent Euro crime fiction. We recommended West Coast Blue a couple of months ago and it's was great. This looks to be more of the same. If you like crime, don't miss this.
Jim: See I really want to get this, but even I limit my budget. I'm started to feel that it maybe time to cut back on regular comics and head into this material even more.

Unloveable Vol. 01 HC by (W/A) Esther Pearl Watson
Hardcover (pink cloth with sparkly blue glitter) 416 pages / two-color / 5.75 x 5.75 A SOON-TO-BE TEEN CLASSIC Loosely based on a teenager's diary from the 1980s found in a gas-station bathroom, Unlovable is the remarkable story of Tammy Pierce, as filtered through the pen of Los Angeles artist Esther Pearl Watson. This remarkably touching and funny graphic novel tells the first-person account of Tammy's sophomore year in 1985, from the first day of school to winter break. Though building a devoted following over the last several years in the pages of Bust magazine, where Unlovable continues to be serialized, this is the first-ever collection of Unlovable and Watson has created over 100 new pages for the book, which details the sometimes ordinary, sometimes humiliating, often poignant and frequently hilarious exploits of underdog Tammy Pierce. Her hopes, dreams, agonies and defeats are brought to vivid, comedic life by Watson's lovingly grotesque drawings, filled with all the eighties essentials - too much mascara, leg warmers with heels and huge hair - as well as timeless teen concerns like acne, dandruff, and the opposite sex (or same sex, in some cases).Unlovable is about the rawness of trying to figure out who you are in a very public and humiliating way. I have always found teen coming of age stories to be from a male point of view, says Watson. Growing up, I always wanted to be a tomboy so I could relate to characters on TV and in the movies, like Batman or Ferris Bueller. But in high school a lot of life as a girl was confusing and went un-addressed. Unlovable addresses these mysteries through Tammy's naievete; girls and women in particular will find much that resonates.In the epic saga that is Unlovable, Tammy finds herself dealing with: tampons, teasing, crushes, The Smiths, tube socks, facial hair, lice, celibacy, fantasy dream proms, gym showers, skid marks, a secret admirer, prank calls, backstabbers, winter ball, barfing, narcs, breakdancing, hot wheels, glamour shots, roller coasters, Halloween costumes, boogers, boys, boy crazy feelings, biker babes, and even some butt cracks. Tammy's life isn't pretty, but it is endlessly charming and hilarious.Unlovable will be handsomely packaged in a unique hardcover format with sparkly blue glitter that would make Tammy proud. $22.99 See Unloveable here

Lee: And now for something completely different. I'm not sure it's for me but I can think of lots of people that would really enjoy this. If I was younger, or my girls were just a wee bit older, I might get it just so I could have a clue as to how a female teenagers mind works.
Jim: I'm sure as hell not the target audience either. PASS!

Kazu Kibuishi’s Copper HC by (W/A) Kazu Kibuishi

Copper is curious, Fred is fearful. Together, boy and dog are off on a series of adventures through marvelous worlds, powered by Copper's limitless enthusiasm and imagination. Each story in this collection is a complete vignette, filled with richly detailed settings and told with a wry sense of humor. These two enormously likable characters build ships and planes to travel to surprising destinations and have a knack for getting into all sorts of odd situations. :This definitive collection of the popular webcomic includes all-new comics and stories, and a special section on the making of Copper. Available in Softcover, $12.99 and Hardcover. $21.99 You can see Copper pages here

Lee: I picked this last year (year before?) because it looked really cool. I didn’t get it at the time but I’m getting it now! Why the change? I’m a sucker for a hc. The story and art still look great and it’s got rave reviews all over so I’m sold.
Jim: It looks amusing, but this is another pass. If I dropped comics all together and spent like a drunken sailor I might be buying this.

Hermes Press
Land of the Giants Complete Series HC by (W) Irwin Allen (A) Tom Gill
Based on the classic Irwin Allen television series, the Land of the Giants comic, originally published by Gold Key comics, returns in a single volume. The series features stunning artwork by Lone Ranger artist Tom Gill. In addition to the complete reprint of all five issues, the collection features essays about the show, behind-the-scenes and never-before published documentary photos, blue-prints, models, design artwork, and more! $39.99

Lee: Wow. This is for the series comic diehards. I’d wager that our readers under 30 have NO CLUE what this is about. Even at my ripe old age of… older than Gwen, younger than Jim… I have nothing more than a passing notion of the original television show. Add to it that Tom Gill was basically a Charlton artist and this has a very limited target market. Let me know how it is.
Jim: And if you saw the show and still wanted to read more about it, you would be a moron. Maybe a little harsh but this show was cheesy and part of an era that did not age well.

IDW Publishing
Adventures of Simone & Ajax GN by (W/A) Andrew Pepoy
Mix: one wacky girl with one tiny dinosaur; Result: Big Fun! Presenting three full-color, zany tales of Simone & Ajax: The Case of the Maltese Duck, A Christmas Caper, and Simone, Queen of the Jungle. Also includes extras by Eisner-winning Andrew Pepoy (Fables, The Simpsons) Try it, and join the adventure! $19.99 Read Simone & Ajax here

Lee: And yet another webcomic get the paper treatment. Simone & Ajax originally ran at Comic Mix and you can still read several issues there. In the trade they’re adding color which is good. Overall, Pepoy is a proven artists and the stories are pretty funny. This is worth checking out.
Jim: It is nice to see these webcomics generate collections that are being published. The biggest post we ever had was Gwen's interview of a webcomic producer.

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