Tuesday 24 April 2012

Weekly Treats! The Pterodactyl Hunters & Black Orchid HC

Publication of the week is The Pterodactyl Hunters (Top Shelf) by Brendan Leach.  I use the rather broad term 'publication' because it's something of wonderful object: At just over 11 inches by 14 inches it has a card format cover but once you open it up you see the reason for the size: a newspaper format complete with an opening and closing page that look like a newspaper.  This orientates the reader in both time (1904), place (New York) and sets up the curious premise: a dwindling population of pterodactyl's have been plaguing the city and it's up to the pterodactyl hunters to ''eliminate the beasts''.



The latest generation of hunters includes two brothers, one of which is a celebrated, if cold-hearted pterodactyl killer whilst the other is a mild-mannered watchman timid in life and unsure of his calling.  Featured in Best American Comics 2011, it's a delightful format and the story has genuine drama and heart.  Brendan Leach (who counted David Mazzucchelli as a MFA thesis adviser) is clearly a talent to watch out for.  See here for his website and see here for an interview at TheComicsJournal.

Considered as something of a practise run for Sandman, Black Orchid: The Deluxe Edition (Vertigo) marks an early collaboration between Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, an enduring partnership that has included comics, picture books and a movie.  Using elements of super-heroes, the DC universe and myth-making it was part of the late-eighties movement towards a grown up approach to mainstream comics.  McKean's dream-like paintings beautifully set the tone for Gaiman's work.

Also out is Chew vol. 5: Major League Chew (Image) by John Layman and Rob Guillory.  A Harvey and Eisner Award-winning series it's the police/horror series doing its best to get the word cibopathic (to have the ability to know the history of something just by eating it) into the mainstream (although I haven't found myself using much in conversation).  Surely it's only got to be a matter of time before it's turned into a pilot for a TV series.  See here for its very own blogspot.

Woo-hoo! Now that's what I'm talking about! Fights! Yeah! This week it's Thing versus Namour and Iron Man versus Magneto! Get yourself some smackdown! All in Avengers vs X-Men: Versus #1 (apparently these stories have writers!?). See also: Thor leading a suicide mission to stop the Phoenix force in Secret Avengers #26 and gentlemanly fisticuffs I'm sure between the Red Hulk and Colossus in Uncanny X-Men #11

Mark Millar and Leinil Yu's Supercrooks #2 continue their Italian- sorry Spanish job and hot on the heels of Marvel Universe: Avengers, there's a new all-ages cartoon tie-in comic in the shape of Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (not to be confused with regular Ultimate Spider-Man - got a feeling that may cause some problems).

Full list of goodies, as ever, is under the tab at the top of the page.

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