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Wednesday, September 08, 2004
So, three new releases from Atomeka made their way to me, and since they were all really quite good, I thought I'd do the decent thing and plug them here.
A1: Big Issue 0: With five short stories from some of the best creators out there, it's hard to go wrong, and this book didn't disappoint me. It opens with Alan Moore's and Steve Parkhouse's Bojeffries Saga. It's like the love-child of H.P. Lovecraft and Charles Addams. Like all the rest of the material in this book, I'd not read any Bojeffries before, so while I'd heard that it was funny, I wasn't quite prepared for how funny it was. It's strange and grotesque and I need to see more of it dammit! Next we had a nicely sentimental piece by Steve Dillon called Kathleen's House. Dillon's art is always a treat and the story was quite romantic and sweet. Following on from that was Ronald Shussett and Steve Pugh on Shark-Man. The penciled artwork from Pugh was gorgeous, and it's been far too long since I saw his art on something, but this was probably the weakest story in the book. It was pretty, but the story felt scatter-shot, and at the end of the day it seemed like just another super-hero story. The Flaming Carrot story was also wonderfully strange. The crisply detailed artwork made a nice counter-point to the absurdity of the narrative. And rounding out the book is Survivor by Dave Gibbons and Ted McKeever. It's a first-person perspective story about the last son of an alien world, trapped on Earth, fighting crime, unable to feel anything and always terribly alone. It's a bleaker take on the concept than we often see, but far more heartfelt and rewarding than any of the other revisionist takes on it, especially the ones from the character in questions actual publisher.
Totally Bricktop: I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I picked this book up. I love Fabry's art. It's reminisicent of Brian Bolland's in many ways, but while Bolland draws these nicely elegant figures, Fabry's are scroungy and dirty-looking and lumpy. As for the story...well, I'm not quite sure what to say about it. It's absolutely hilarious, quite probably one of the funniest comics I've ever read. It has a surreal, manic glee, with the characters bouncing from one absurd situation to the next. It becomes quite difficult to tell what is literally meant to be happening from the site gags, and in the end you mostly have to abandon the proposistion and just go with the assumption that, yes, everything on the page is literally meant to be happening, otherwise the "logic" of the story is completely lost. It's a shame this is the "complete" adventures of Lucy Wales and her friends, because there are questions I still have that I demand answers to, mostly involving whether the evil naked alien will ever find an assistant more competent than an alcoholic homeless man, but primarily because these characters are so appealing I want to see more of them.
Dave Johnson Sketchbook: Sketchbooks are just about review-proof, I find. Either you're a fan of the artist in question, or you're not, and that seems to be the sole factor people use to decide if they should buy something like this or not. Luckily, I've always enjoyed Johnson's cover work and his illustration work when it's popped up here and there. This book has great rough-drafts of illo pieces, doodles, and character designs. If there's a flaw in this book, it's that there isn't any context given for any of the illustrations. I'd really like to know what some of these pieces were meant to be for. Also, there is sometimes too much of a good thing. I'm thinking mostly of the twelve pages of space-ship designs that appear here. And while they are all very neat looking space-ships, twelve pages of them feels like a bit too much. Apart from that I was really quite fond of the collection overall. There's a lot of nice looking work here, and I really must go find some more of Johnson's work now.
So, this is a very impressive initial offering of books from the good folks at Atomeka. All three of these books should be available at your local comic book store, so go out and get them! As for me, I'll be looking forward to the forthcoming releases.