The Books I Want to Buy:
A God Somewhere
by John Arcudi and Peter Snejbjerg; DC, $17.99
Putting this comic here is something of a cheat, as I actually bought a copy of the first print of this book a couple of weeks ago at FanExpo, but haven’t read it yet. The thing is, I’ve read and heard so many good things about it, despite the fact that it was a Wildstorm book that wasn’t promoted very heavily at all, and wanted to bring readers’ attentions to it.
John Arcudi is not a writer that disappoints. I love his BPRD (which he co-writes with Mike Mignola), but also have been following his career since his truly bizarre run on Thunderbolts, when the series became about super-powered boxers. Why has that never been reprinted? That was a good run…
Peter Snejbjerg is one of the best artists in the industry, having drawn books as diverse as Books of Magic, Starman, and Justice Society. His last regular comic was The Mighty, and this graphic novel covers similar ground, being, I believe, a book about a Superman-type figure.
Who cares what it’s about – it looks great.
Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910 – 2010
by Michael Kupperman; Fantagraphics, $19.99
I came late to Michael Kupperman’s brilliance, picking up an issue of his Tales Designed to Thrizzle around the same time that his contribution to Marvel’s first Strange Tales indie anthology was published. What I like about Kupperman is that he draws in what could be called a ‘Golden Age’ style, with lots of heavy lines. He seems highly indebted to Golden Age sensibilities too, although he plays with them, exposing their more ridiculous side, and introducing modern elements that are very incongruous with the world he is depicting. At the least, Kupperman is always very funny.
One feature that shows up in Thrizzle features Mark Twain and Albert Einstein. In the latest issue, they are sent to space. Now Kupperman is publishing Mark Twain’s autobiography, covering the years from 1910 – 2010. Of course, Twain’s been dead for a hundred years, but that news may well have been exaggerated.
I look forward to seeing how one of our age’s talented satirists handles one of the masters of the form.
The Books I Think You Should Buy:
Blue Estate Vol. 1
by Viktor Kalvachev, Andrew Osborne, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, and Robert Valley; Image, $12.99
Blue Estate is a new Image title that has not been getting a lot of press, but I don’t understand why, as it’s really very good. It’s a pretty sprawling crime comic, set in LA, with a large cast of characters including actors, actresses, Russian and Italian mafia types, bodyguards, cops, private eyes, assassins, strippers, and a crazy Kazakh (I’m pretty sure he’s Kazakh). Kalvachev and Osborne use most of this volume to set up relationships and the connections between characters, but still find plenty of time to have fun with the mean little world they have created.
Rachel, a D-list actress is married to Bruce, a B-list action star, but there is no love in their life. She’s a total alcoholic, and he’s kept her under house arrest to keep her from exposing him as a criminal. He’s in bed with the Russian mafia (and it is implied, his bodyguard), and isn’t aware that Rachel has made a friend in her AA sponsor, who is also an assassin.
There’s a lot of other stuff going on in this book too – it can be hard to follow on a monthly basis, but I’m sure would be much clearer in trade.
The coolest thing about this book is the way in which there are so many artists drawing it. They blend their art, and while it’s easy to pick a page and recognize it as done by Toby Cypress, I find I don’t really notice the transitions from one artist to the next. I think the most apt comparison would be to say that this book works like a well-honed jazz group, compared to say a kitchen with too many cooks in it.
Moriarty Vol. 1
by Daniel Corey and Anthony Diecidue; Image, $14.99
Moriarty is a pretty cool comic. It features James Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’s greatest villain, who obviously survived what happened at the falls in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s last Holmes novel. Since then, he’s laid low, acting almost like a private eye for the underworld.
In this book, he gets wrapped up in a convoluted caper involving Serb Black Hand terrorists, a ninja woman, and a whole whack of people who were in the original novels, like Holmes’s brother, and of course, Watson. The story gets more than a little confusing in parts, but the plot turns on similar elements to what Doyle would have used, while also involving lots of action movie stuff.
I think the main reason why I liked this book is because of how intricate the first issue was, and I like Diecidue’s art. It reminds me a little of early Guy Davis. This book ends with an interesting surprise, which sets up the on-going series to be pretty interesting.
Sweets: A New Orleans Crime Story
by Kody Chamberlain; Image $14.99
Sweets is definitely a flawed piece of work, but interesting and worth reading none the less. Chamberlain sets his serial killer story in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. A killer is brutally murdering people in New Orleans, and leaving behind a praline at each crime scene. One of the cops investigating is still recovering from the recent death of his daughter in a car accident.
It’s all pretty standard stuff to that point. But then Chamberlain decides to draw the hell out of this book, giving us some random pages of flashback drawn in a completely different style, and using interesting visual tricks to keep the narrative fresh and flowing. There are loose ends galore in this comic, but I found myself really buying into Chamberlain’s vision of how this book should work. Had he had a strong editor, I think this could have been amazing. He definitely has a gift for making the city an integral part of the story, and that’s something that I always like in a comic.
So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?
Tags: Blue Estate, DC, Fantagraphics, Image, Moriarty, Were Money No Object, Wildstorm