Wednesday's New Things: Oddities and Endities

Red Moon, writing by Carlos Trillo, art by Eduardo Risso

A couple of years ago, as 100 Bullets ended, I had the bright idea to do a bunch of stories focusing on the work of that book's artist, the Argentinian Eduardo Risso. As I gathered material for the retrospective, which I never actually completed, I realized that most of Risso's work was originally from outside of the US. Reading through that stuff was one of the first experiences I had with Latin American comics, which was an important moment for me in terms of expanding my comics consciousness outside of what's produced in the US. Red Moon is one of Risso's collaborations with another Argentine, Carlos Trillo, especially intriguing to me because it reaches for a much different register than much of the other work I've seen from them; it reads, or at least the preview does, like a kids' adventure comic if it had been written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The angst of children is a topic that seems both well trod (think Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and, in not-comics form, Where The Wild Things Are) and under explored; where Risso's thin, anxious line in 100 Bullets underscored a struggle for power on the one hand and mere survival on the other (dramatized by the hypothetical that gave the series both its name and its early hook), here it contrasts the latter with the creative hunger of childhood. As is usually true, the difference between color palates is mostly responsible for the difference in tone, but it's a mark of the artist's talent that he maintains his recognizable style, one that I associate with a crime comics grit and grime, in panels like the one below: 

Where I usually think of Risso's panels as dramatic and dense, this one is elegant, ever so slightly obscuring what's really at stake, suggesting the way that adults often misunderstand children's play. 

I often say that I'm looking forward to something, or that something looks like a treat; from the preview, I'm betting on Red Moon being a masterpiece. 

The Authentic Accounts of Billy The Kid's Old Timey Oddities, written by Eric Powell, drawn by Kyle Hotz, colored by Dan Brown

This is a book about a rumors-of-his-death-have-been-greatly-exaggerated Billy the Kid working as hired muscle for a traveling a traveling sideshow in the Wild West. It was written by Eric Powell, who writes and draws The Goon (I love The Goon). It's a shame that he didn't also do that art here, since his feel for a sort of familiar grotesque seems perfect for stories like these. Kyle Hotz's work is a little more straight up than Powell's, reaching as it does towards the dramatic. I won't know if that move is a good one in terms of tone until I dig into the book a little, but it certainly seems like it works in the preview.

The Wicked and the Divine, written by Kieron Gillen, drawn by Jamie McKelvie, colors by Matt Wilson

Whole Comics: Jillian Fleck

Something tasty from Jillian Fleck. Read here. Buy here

Here's What I Would Buy, If I Went To SPX

One year, I went to SPX. I drove down to DC to stay with my brother and go to the show. I had a great time, I bought too much stuff. I haven't been able to go for a couple of years (because I moved to Texas), but the one I went to was one granddaddy of an alt press show, setting the bar for the two or three I've attended since then. As usual, there's a lot of stuff debuting at SPX, at least 175 books. Below is a selection of things that caught my eye while perusing that list. And, if you do happen to be going this weekend? Happy hunting. 

Wednesday's New Things: An Embarrassment of Riches

Copperhead #1, written Jay Faerber, drawn by Scott Godlewski, colors by Ron Riley, letters by Thomas Mauer

This book is a Space Western. And it looks great. Count me in. 

Annihilator #1, written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Frasier Irving

Reading the solicitation on this one, it seems like Morrison is really stuck on blurring the line between fiction and reality right now, since this premise seems awfully similar to the one for the Multiversity comic he's doing for DC. Even so, this one looks, as Jon sometimes says, cuckoo pajama pants. Even when they're whacky, though, Morrison's books are always worth reading. That, combined with the generally excellent art work of Frasier Irving, makes it worth a look. 

Shoplifter by Michael Cho

I actually already own this one, sort of. Somehow, I won one of those SO YOU'RE NOT A COMIC CON give aways, which was full of great stuff, including a black and white proof copy of this book. Obviously, the two aren't the same, since Cho almost certainly picked the two color printing for a reason. Even so, it'll be good to read through, and the color previews look great

Castaway on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure by Fred

This one's a translation of a French humor/adventure serial, originally published in the weekly comics magazine Pilote, being put out by Francois Mouly's comics imprint, Toon Graphics. There's a great interview Tom Spurgeon did with Mouly about the comic over at The Comics Reporter; what she has to say will be much more enlightening that whatever I could tell you. I particularly like this part, from the beginning, about what Philemon meant to her: 

I was a typical French teenager, meaning I didn't have a life. I went to school. I went home. That was about it. There was very little room for leisure. I was probably about 12 years old around that time. It was one of the very few things that was a part of my entertainment package, the fact that there was a comics magazine called Pilote coming out.
Neither of my parents were that plugged in, but they read newspapers and magazines. My dad went to the newsstand every day to get his paper. Once a week he would take me to the newsstand and he got me my copy of Pilote. That was really exciting, to have a weekly comics magazine.  
I would savor it. [laughs] There was reading it and then there was re-reading and making it last. I grew up in a culture where kids owned a lot less stuff in general compared to the amount of stuff I've bought for my children in America. It's a thousand times more than what I ever got as a French kid.  
I read a lot of books, but I didn't have too many books that I owned. With comics, there were albums that were bound in cardboard and relatively expensive, so we shared them. You'd go over to a friend's house and you'd make sure you'd ask for one of them for Christmas and one for your birthday and you'd coordinate with your friends so you wouldn't ask for the same album. We would all read them. The albums around were like Asterix and Lucky Luke -- that was my favorite.  
With Pilote, I had to be careful, because I loved the humor stuff and I didn't quite like the adventure things as much. Moebius was doing Blueberry, there was Valérian -- a space-age adventure thing. Those were stories to be continued from week to week. I read them first so then I could get to the stuff I really loved, which was the humor stuff. Anything and everything that Gotlib did I adored. A lot of the humor strips were really wonderful....
Philémon was both humor and adventure/fantasy. That was by far the most -- not just my favorite, but the one I could re-read and get more and more out of it. The humor stuff, I could read and it would make me laugh and I could read it a second and third time, but the Fred stuff I could find more on a fourth and fifth reading. I found more flourishes and details and things that he had done.  
What I really liked about it was the convincing logic. He was pretty unflappable. [laughs] There were two suns, he was on an island, there was a centaur, but he was not questioning -- clearly this was happening to him. There was the denial of his father that any of this was happening, but there were characters you could trust. He didn't doubt the world he was exploring no matter how fantastic it seemed. The fact that he has fallen on an island that is the letters of "Atlantic Ocean" written on a map, that is a kind of conceptual idea where what is represented on the map is a representation of reality so if there are letters they must be real islands -- that was thought-provoking, and I liked that. The concepts he was exploring, he is forcing the logic of it. In that sense he has a lot to do with Lewis Carroll, who was a mathematician and studied logic.  
There's also some really interesting stuff in there about Fred's importance as a cartoonist and as a student radical.

(In A Sense) Lost and Found by Roman Muradov

Lastly, Roman Muradov's first graphic novel looks great