Recent comic purchases

BatMan_BLKWHT_Cv3_I seem to have been buying an inordinate amount of comics recently, far more than usual, so I thought I’d share my best buys on here. I recently saw a statistic that said that comic sales had risen 1000% in the last decade – largely I assume because of comic-based films now being big business in Hollywood. I’ve bought, or have been bought, comics since as long as I can remember but recently I’ve been buying some that I never thought I would – issues from the big two. Marvel and DC titles are rarely on my shopping list, superheroes don’t interest me that much unless they’re being subverted in some way and I’ll usually only buy these kind of books for a particular guest artist.

Batman B&W1

This is the case with recently purchases of Batman, Superman AND Spiderman comics, a highly unlikely trio for me to want to read at the best of times. The Batman book (Batman Black & White #3) is something I’ve been waiting for for months now, mainly due to Rian Hughes‘ excellent typographic take on the character. He deconstructs language, both literally and visually and breaks down the story to incorporate the black & white theme via the print process. Adding in digs at Post-modernism and New Brit Art, it’s a unique, hilarious and very British take on Batman, seen through the eyes of a designer and illustrator – of which Hughes is both.

The next major super hero book to catch my eye was Spiderman: Marvel Knights – mainly because of the incredible interior art and some of the most inventive page layouts in years. Artist, Marco Rudy, channels the multi-dimensional angles of Alex Nino and the psychedelia of Brendan McCarthy on the page as Spidey has to battle 99 different foes to prevent a bomb going off. There seems to be a different style on each page and the writing is rapid-fire and light, I’ve included some sample spreads here to show what I mean.

The last of the big three is Superman Action Comics with a story called ‘Krypton Returns’, this is purely because the artist, Kenneth Rocafort, is on the book and I’ll buy pretty much anything he draws. The story is crap but it’s beautiful to look at, as is ‘Brainiac #1’, drawn by Pascal Alixe, a Superman spin-off issue where his many villains take over a book for the month of November, each with an eye-catching lenticular cover.

These are by no means the best of the bunch this month, I’m just highlighting them as they’re not the norm. The really good stuff is, as ever, happening on the smaller labels and independents like Image, Dark Horse and IDW. Huge mention for Brandon Graham‘s incredible Prophet, now up to issue 40, which continues to confound and amaze with every page. There are so many ideas packed into the dialogue that you can imagine multiple worlds, races and histories within every page. His scope is huge and I think this will, one day, come to be held up alongside works like Jodorowsky and Moebius‘The Incal’ for its vision.

More Graham goodness via Image comes with the reprint edition of his early Multiple Warheads strips and a compilation of sketchbook material called ‘Walrus’ via Picture Box. Scott Snyder’s ‘The Wake’ is an excellent underwater creature siege on a secret oil rig adventure with incredible art from Sean Murphy, they’re up to issue 4 but have just put out a ‘director’s cut’ of issue 1 with extra material, something that seems to be a new trend.

Over at Dark Horse the new Hellboy hardback, ‘The Midnight Circus’ by Mignola and Duncan Fegrado is beautiful, B.P.R.D. continues to intrigue and the Abe Sapien solo title is very good. Jeff Darrow is back with a new series of Shaolin Cowboy – always a joy to look at although the print size at the start of issue no.1 was enough to try the most persistent reader. The Star Wars is an interesting concept for a series too, taking the original screenplay for Star Wars from George Lucas and adapting it into comic form, complete with Ralph McQuarrie-esque early designs for the characters, makes for an alternate retro SW universe.

In the 2000ad universe the weekly Prog, which has been going through an incredible second golden period for the last decade, has suddenly hit the skids with it’s latest run of stories. But taking up the slack is the monthly Judge Dredd Megazine which is on fire at the moment with every story an absolute winner. I’ve recently started writing a monthly 2000ad vs Megazine post on the Everything Comes Back To 2000ad website which pits the Prog against the Meg on the week they are both released. Still in Dredd-world but over at IDW, their monthly take on the Judge has been more miss than hit but the cross-over Mars Attacks Judge Dredd title (yes, you read that correctly) has been good, largely because Brit writer Al Ewing is lashing on the black humour.

Lastly I must mention two more independent titles with connections to 2000ad: firstly Si Spurrier‘s 6 Gun Gorilla – a future war western with a tooled-up gorilla as star, sounds like it shouldn’t work but does. Secondly Gordon Rennie and PJ Holden‘s Dept. of Monsterology via Renegade is worth a look, kind of a Brit take on B.P.R.D. with enough strong characters to take it further after the first four issues finish. Phew! and that’s only the best of what I bought this month, there’s more but that’s enough for tonight, I have a Tooth vs Meg report to start as well as the complete run of Milligan and McCarthy‘s ‘The Electric Hoax’ strips from late 70’s Sounds to read.


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