Friday, 27 November 2009

PSP Comics Get Some Publishers, Get Some Meh

Sony has announced some publishers for its PSP Comics reader. Story's on SPOnG (where I do work for money). I might have done my angry typing...

Pretty King City

King City 2, the second issue in Brandon Graham's batshit-crazy-awesome western Manga, is out this week. For a warm-up, Graham's posted some new artwork on his blog which should make your eyes feel bubbly and pleasant. I've put a couple of bits on here and you can find more on the aforementioned blog. Graham does these sprawling great long posts that are a little bit scary, but well worth a look. Also, here's the review I did of issue #1 for The Leeds Guide:

While the realm of comics isn’t as vast and cavernous as that of prose, it’s still sadly rare to come across something that feels genuinely fresh. While King City (£2.25) is technically a couple of years old now, it does a fine job of generating that tingly feeling in your tummy that accompanies the discovery of something new and fascinating. After spending a while in publishing limbo, King City has had a change of format from graphic novel to comics singles and is appearing under the Image publishing banner.

Coming from the (I can only imagine fevered) brain and pen of Brandon Graham, King City’s a western Manga. Specifically, a sci-fi spy comic about a chap named Joe who has a cat that can become any weapon or tool, a mate who always wears a wrestling mask and an ex-girlfriend with a new boyfriend who’s literally turning into the drug he’s addicted to. The series drags us into a sprawling future metropolis in which sasquatches run spy hotels and shadowy men in suits can knock you off trains by sharp-shooting you with your own bogeys.

While the backdrop and tone is wild, imaginative and bizarre, however, the series’ first issue introduces a lead with depth that belies the comic’s apparent whimsy. Rounding it off there’s just enough intrigue lurking in the plot to pique your interest, although it remains the feel and style of the issue that will prompt you to pick up issue 2.

If Chris Ware Did Graffiti... probably wouldn't look like this. But when you put ALL of Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan on a wall, these pictures are what you get.

Daniel Maw, the chap behind this display (and a graduate art student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville), told Fantagraphics, "Recently, I worked with some of my fellow graduate colleagues (we range in age from 23 to 31) to curate a show highlighting contemporary print media in all its facets. I recommended we show the work of Chris Ware, including Jimmy Corrigan. In order to showcase the epic nature of this comic we elected to purchase two copies, cut the bindings off each, collate the pages, and display all [390] pages in a grid on a 23 x 10 foot wall. It is quite impressive to take it all in at once as it demonstrates the tremendous amount of talent and work that went in to the creation of the book."

Gallery details here. Loads more pictures on Daniel Maw's page here.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Powers #1, Finally - A Review

Remember Powers? I kind of forgot Powers was a comic, rather than a fond memory that I dredge up every now and then when I want to recommend someone a great noir comic on the odd Saturdays I work at OK Comics. I'm not going to bitch (any more) because between Bendis (writer man) being the evil secret mastermind of the Marvel universe and Oeming (art fellow) drawing the apocalypse in Rapture (and the only slightly more cute mice of Mice Templar) I guess everyone involved's been pretty busy. I'm just glad it's back.

The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of all Time, was pretty dark and gruelling in the best possible, Walking Dead ('I don't know if I can read this right now because it hurts') kind of way. This one's a bit lighter.

Pilgrim's out of the picture for a while and (a rather sveldt-looking, he's been eating Snack a Jacks or something) Walker's still partnered with Enki Sunrise. They don't trust each other that much, but she's trying.

Anyway, as is their wont, they've got a dead power on their hands - Z. Turns out Walker knew him back in the '50s and they were part of (this is the best bit) the superhero Rat Pack. We get a lengthy flashback in which they are... I'm going to say 'complete', assholes. Not 'arseholes', 'assholes'. It is 'Merca, after all.

Anyway, reading this made me remember what I miss about Bendis out in the wild - anything can happen. I'm not saying that 'anything' does happen in this particular issue - we don't find out Enki's a robot donkey vampire or anything - but there's that sense that the story could go absolutely anywhere. And Bendis can take the Powers cast to places that Marvel characters can't, for the most part, go. I can't imagine the Rat Pack scene being as much fun in the Marvel U. I certainly can't imagine Walker's sexual activities being allowed in one of Bendis's Marvel work (that's not to say I don't love that stuff, it's just nice to see superhero threesomes sometimes).

Oeming's character work is spot on as always. He makes Enki, who is not the most likeable character thanks to her Internal Affairs background, very human and very sympathetic. There are panels in the opening chase sequence that feel a little awkward, but they are soon left behind and certainly aren't enough to put a dent in the overall quality of the art.

And, of course, the letters column is back, complete with 'No Life' and everything else, so you can have Bendis insult your mother's cat or something.

Powers should, according Mr Bendis, be on a regular monthly schedule for a while. That's a pretty good thing.

So, yeah. Powers #1 is full of win.

Oh, and there's a preview on CBR.

Powers is out now. It's written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Michael Avon Oeming

Images: Paul Pope Has a Shakedown

This has popped up on Paul Pope's blog. As you can see, it's for a club night which you probably can't get to in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY on December 5th. But, the poster's awesome, isn't it?

If you do happen to be reading this from the general vicinity of Brooklyn, more details are on the blog.

Pope also writes: "Also-- we're working on a new site re-design for PULPHOPE and PAULPOPE.COM, criminally overdue, launching soon with new content, including a preview of the work for my next major book release, Battling Boy." Which is good news, innit?

Love nearly naked girls with guitars.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Doodle-Booze is Happening Next Monday

Doodle-Booze is on again again next Monday. If that leaves you doing a bit of head-scratching, OK Comics describes it thusly:

"Doodle-Booze is the new name for Drink & Draw, the semi regular social event hosted at Nation of Shopkeeper, in Leeds City Centre. Doodle-Booze is an informal social event where like minded comic fans and artists can meet, exchange ideas, drink and draw. Everyone (over 18) is welcome no matter what your artistic ability. No invite or appointment is required, just show up."

OK Comics bothers to describe it because it's OK Comics' baby. For some reason Jared (the OK Overlord) decided to use a picture of my mug, alongside the back of storyboard artist Steve Beaumont's head, to illustrate the event on the OK Facebook page. My mug aside, it's usually a good do. It'll kick off around 7pm. I'll be back with beer-marked pictures next week...

Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter Issue 2 - All Reviewed Up

Yesterday, I'm pretty sure Marc Ellerby's Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter Issue 2 wasn't available to buy on the Web (I checked). Today, it is. Through the magic of going to a physical place in three dimensional space in Northern England (Thought Bubble, where it launched) I read it already. I thought I would tell you that it is Good.

Chloe Noonan, if you never met her before, is a monster hunter who goes to sixth form, has ginger hair, has absolutely no super-powers and... well, she's a bit of a moody cow (in a totally loveable way) to be honest. She's in a band called Freudian Repercussions that has song titles long enough to fill a panel. You might want to go out with her, because she seems sort of like she's in your league, but she would probably keep you at a distance using a force field made of withering looks. Issue Two finds her grappling with a lobster monster bloke who's had a few too many ales and wants a girl (does he fancy Chloe? I think so).

Reading Chloe Noonan (so far, at least) isn't so much about following a plot as it is about dipping into the brain of Ellerby and seeing how things look from in there. The world he sees (or draws, at least) is charming, cynical and vibrant all at the same time. He pokes fun at pop culture while clearly revelling in it, and you can't help but enjoy it with him.

If you've ever read Ellerbisms, you already know that Ellerby has a knack for bringing instantly likeable, warm and real characters (OK, people in Ellerbisms) to the page. The inhabitants of Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter are no different. I'm already pretty scared that if I ever meet Chloe's mate, Zoe Fox, her teeth will do something bewitching to me and I'll find myself listening to My Chemical Romance and crying at teatime.

The other thing I would say is that the polish Ellerby delivers is impressive. I see a lot of small press stuff that looks... I'll say 'rough around the edges' - not this, though. The printing and overall presentation of the issue - like in the one before it - are on a par with what you'd expect from one of the bigger indie publishers like Oni Press. I really ought to mention that you get 28 pages, compared to the first issue's 16, too.

And, can I call Chloe Noonan the English Scott Pilgrim? Oh, I just did...

You should buy this. You can do so from (along with Issue One). Hopefully it will filter out into your local comic shop soon, too. Oh, and here's a preview.

In case you're interested, here are a few words about some other good stuff from Thought Bubble.

UPDATE: I got hold of Marc and he told me that OK Comics and Page45 should have Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter Issue 2 this week, and London shops will hopefully have them next week.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Thought Bubble

Thought Bubble happened last weekend. For me, in my role as Stall Monkey, it started at 7am with a trip to OK Comics to pick up stock. 7am is a disgusting time of day. If you've not seen it before, I don't recommend it.

Three hours, several miles of wear on my cons and 60 boxes of stock later and we actually saw some customers.

I'd love to tell you that the panels were amazing, but I didn't see a single one of them. What I can tell you is that from the point of view of someone running around like a maniace behind a stall, it was a massive success. The footfall was massive - an improvement over the last two years, which is no mean feat. People were spending money. We like that. And this guy here was dressed as Iron Man. That was pretty good.

The pros were all a credit to the industry. Mike Carey is, I discovered, The Nicest Man in Comics - he loves Cable more than you know. Axel Alonso should put him on X-Force after Craig Kyle and Chris Yost are done with it so he can put Cable and Domino on the team and appease our guilty inner fanboys. Jamie McKelvie dissed my cons at the bar (while somehow managing to be really nice - which makes it worse) - and not even because they were made by sweatshop children in India. I'll forgive him though, because he draws cute indie girls like no-one else in the world.

The best bit, however, was getting to see some of the small press offerings. Paper Science made its debut, showing off the likes of Katie West, Liz Lunney and Matt Jones. Marc Ellerby's Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter got a second issue, which is excellent news. I would have bought an awesome Flash T-shirt from Northern Delight, but all the other large and extra large nerds got there first. I also discovered the assorted goodies of Kristyna Baczynski (conveniantly right behind the OK tables - which we had 16m of), which you can see some of here.

And Richard Greg, who I think I can safely say makes my Top Ten Most OK (Comics) Customers list, was all there, looking like this:

That photo's from Matthew Kitchen. He's got loads more.

And it got me a full page feature in The Leed Guide (which is now out of date, on account of it being a preview).

So, yeah, it was good.