Monster book week this week. We'll start with some art books simply so that I get a visual punch to the opening of this post. The Art of Molly Crabapple vol. 1: Week in Hell (IDW). In September 2011 artist and illustrator Crabapple celebrated her 28th birthday by locking herself away in a hotel room, covered the walls with 270 feet of paper and over the next five days set to work covering it with illustrations. This book captures the process with a few sparse words. The results were quite lovely and inspired Warren Ellis to provide a foreword to the book. For more on Crabapple take a look at her website (see here).
Another winsome maid of the US art scene, Tara McPherson has a third collection of her work out this week: Bunny in the Moon (Dark Horse). Featuring more of her clean, subversive, surrealism, this book won't disappoint her mighty legion of fans.
Gary Gianni's MonsterMen and Other Scary Stories (Dark Horse) began life as a back-up strip in Hellboy. Indeed check out this quote from Mike Mignola: "These are (along with a few issues of Stan and Jack's Fantastic Four) my all-time favourite comic book stories." It's very easy to see why: as an impeccably straight-face parody Gianni twists and turns through the horror back catalogue including zombie cowboys, squid pirates, abominable snowmen and mostachioed skulls and a protagonist who finishes off his tuxedo with a knights helmet. Gianni's style captures a bygone era and it's no surprise to learn he has worked on adaptations of classic stories and characters such as Prince Valiant, Tarzan, Moby Dick and Soloman Kane. The work in this volume spans 1996-2009 and includes full text short stories by William Hope Hodgson, Robert E. Howard and others alongside his illustrations. Have a look at the following selection pages and then flick over to his website (see here) for more.
Phonogram and Suburban Glamour (both Image) artist Jamie McKelvie is the surprise artist on original hard cover graphic novel X-Men Season One (Marvel). As with the other Season One titles, it re-tells the first year of the teenage mutants, promising an appearance by not only Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants but also the Sentinels and Unus the Untouchable (snigger).
Crossed vol 3 Psychopath (Avatar) is by David Lapham again this time joined by Raulo Caceres. It doesn't come much more filthy and depraved than this - and you may take that as a recommendation or a warning. One title I have no trouble recommending is Brian Wood's Northlanders vol. 6 Thor's Daughter (Vertigo) this time featuring a foot-soldier's eye-view, outnumbered at the the Siege of Paris.
For the Weekly Treats we have another limited time special price offer on yet another three issue #1's. Saga #1 (Image) marks Brian K. Vaughan's return to comics after some adventures in TV land. This time the Y the Last Man writer is working with Fiona Staples in fantasy and sci-fi setting which has had Warren Ellis (again!) impressed (see here). This one is expected to become epic. Next is Saucer County #1 (Vertigo) illustrated by Ryan Kelly and written by Paul Cornell. Sounding close in spirit to Brian K. Vaughan's other big hit Ex Machina, it's about the Governor of New Mexico who decides to run for President after she is convinced she has survived a barely remembered alien abduction. And finally, Avengers Assemble #1 (Marvel) will be hard to resist featuring the line-up of the up-coming movie and written and illustrated by the original Ultimate Spider-Man creative duo Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley.
For one week only, all three comics will be available for the knock-down price of £1.50.