Tuesday 10 July 2012

Weekly Treats! Blacksad, Parker & Punk Rock Jesus

It's glorious week for releases across both comics and books and I'm going to start with Blacksad simply because it's taken so long to see arrive on these shores. It's been two years since Dark Horse released the first three stories in one volume (see here for my original post) which originally saw print in French starting in 2000, which is coincidentally the same year that this current volume saw publication in France. Blacksad: A Silent Hell (Dark Horse) features another case for private investigator John Blacksad in Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido's beautifully painted anthropomorphic world of crime noir, this time set within the music scene in 1950's New Orleans. 

Don't be fooled by the Disney-fied looking characters (Guarnido does concept work for the animation industry), Blacksad features tough, mature storytelling. This volume also includes two short stories and a translation of The Watercolor Story published as a separate art book in France featuring preliminary watercolour sketches and commentary.

But if you find Blacksad tough wait until you get a load of Richard Stark's Parker: The Score (IDW) which really is the ultimate in hard boiled noir. This is Darwyn Cooke's third adaptation of the Parker novels written by Donald Westlake (as Richard Stark) in the 1960's, one of which was famously turned into the movie Point Blank starring Lee Marvin. Darwyn Cooke's style isn't for everyone but he's won six Eisner's in his career so far, two for his Parker books and this looks like his best one yet. Here's the teaser released by IDW:

For a change of pace, Jaime Hernendez stepped sideways from his Maggie and Hopey saga to play with superheroes in Gods and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls (Fantagraphics). This collection brings together material originally published in the annual Love & Rockets series but with an extra 30 added pages of story. Always beautifully realised, even when completely bonkers.

This guy is a real talent: Brahm Revel has been slowly and quietly working on his war/sci-fi story about a US soldier in Vietnam taken under the wing of a platoon of chimpanzee soldiers, the product of a US military project. Guerillas vol. 2 (Oni) of a planned trilogy displays his seemingly effortless command of illustrative storytelling. Keep an eye on his blog (see here). And finally the best horror/fantasy title around is probably Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's highly acclaimed Locke and Key vol. 5 Clockworks (IDW) out in hardcover.

There's a nice spread of comics this week. The excellent Sean Murphy writes and illustrates Punk Rock Jesus #1 of 6 (DC) asking what if Jesus Christ could be cloned? Cue assassination attempts and television contracts. 

You'll have to wait just a little longer for those Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan issues because Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2 of 6 (DC) beats them to it as Darwyn Cooke (having a good week) expertly polishes up and then tarnishes the Golden Age.

In AvX: Versus #4 of 6 (Marvel) Brandon Peterson illustrates Daredevil vs Psylocke and Kaare Andrews brings us Thor vs suped-up Emma Frost - don't pull your punches guys!

Off the back of the incredibly successful Adventure Time comic Adventure Time: Scream Queens #1 of 6 (Boom!) focuses on Marceline and Princess Bubblegum for "riot grrl, rock-fuelled excitement" according to Boom! and I believe them. 

And finally, possibly the biggest success stories in modern comics selling in multiple formats, reaching readers that would never even consider picking up a comic and spawning a television adaptation that actually compliments the comic rather than ruining it. And now we've reached Walking Dead #100 closing a storyline that has regulars tingling with anticipation but for those that aren't regular, Image are celebrating with an tempting range of covers from some of the industry's top names...

Hats off to you Robert Kirkman. Full list of releases to be found under tab at the top.

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