Sunday, May 24, 2009

4 things I enjoyed reading yesterday

Dungeon The Early Years Vol. 1: The Night Shift by Blain, Sfar and Trondheim.
This is a shared universe by a bunch of French creators. Some time ago, Bart Beaty attempted to explain how it all worked in the Comics Journal, but since most of the comics hadn't been published in English yet that was tough reading. Suffice to say that a castle with a dungeon is built in this book, and in later books it becomes the center of magical adventures, although eventually one of the workers in it takes over the world as a dark ruler. These are all fun, mostly oddly-drawn (to American eyes) and well worth checking out.

Mustard #4.

There's an excellent interview with Alan Moore in this small UK magazine, and online you can get 2 paper doll cutouts of Moore. The mailing cost to the US was reasonable and the whole package cost about $6 through Paypal.

Illustration 26.
I get this regularly at Big Planet, but this issue had a Shadow pulp cover by Graves Gladney which made it a guaranteed sale. As a youngster, I was fascinated by pulp heroes who clearly were the forerunners of superheroes, and the Shadow was my favorite. In addition to the article about Gladney, who painted over 250 of the Shadow pulp covers, there are pieces on the American Academy of Art (which had cartooning classes) and Nan Pollard (a children's book illustrator who did licensed cartoon material such as Disney and Harvey Comics). The writing is slightly amateurish, but the other production values are first-rate.

Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao, Adhouse Books.
I've gotten to know Chris Pitzer, publisher of Adhouse, slightly over the years at SPX and have come to appreciate the quality of his books and now I just buy them automatically. Johnny Hiro is an amusing collection of short stories, set in Manhattan. Hiro is forced by circumstances to live up to his name, and Chao puts him in odd, manga-influenced difficulties. In the first story, a Godzilla-like monster attempts to take revenge on his Japanese-born girlfriend. In later stories, Hiro's work at a Japanese seafood restaurant puts cleaver-wielding chefs on his trail as he attempts to lose them on a drive through Manhattan. The art is good, Chao breaks the 4th wall when necessary, and I'm looking forward to more of his work.

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