Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Weekly Treats! Dockwood, Mudman, Mind the Gap

"There are few younger comic artists with whom I feel a genuine aesthetic kinship, but the radiant and glowing Dockwood is Jon McNaught's loveliest argument yet for the beauty of just simply being alive." Chris Ware

Well if that doesn't tickle your interest then I'm not sure what else will. Yes, Jon MacNaught's Dockwood (Nobrow) features - similar to his two small format books Pebble Island and Birchfield Close - simple, slow-paced slices of life which, on the surface have no particular story and certainly eschew any 'events'. But, as Ware points out the purpose is a tap into a rhythm to remind the reader about the minute in life. It's the sort of thing that can appear simple but it tends to require work by an illustrator which has an extremely strong design element to it - as with Chris Ware. Dockwood has that element to it; so many panels could be blown up and displayed and any page works as a microcosm for the whole book. Nobrow are uncovering some wonderful new illustrators to the big, wide world and this one cast a special spell over me. See here for Jon McNaught's website and here for his blog.

British writer/illustrator Paul Grist has always ploughed his own furrow of comics that hark back to a nostalgia for 'simpler' comics but also manage to draw on British pop culture that will bring a smile to the face of readers of a certain age. But, importantly the comics are always entertaining in themselves: the long-running Jack Staff, crime thriller Kane and now Mudman vol. 1 (Image) features more of Grist's seemingly effortless, brisk storytelling and mad ideas all told with wide-eyed innocence.

If you're counting the days down to the immanent release of Morning Glories vol. 4 you should give a thought to picking up Mind The Gap vol. 1 Intimate Strangers (Image) not least because the illustrator Rodin Esquejo provides the art for the MG covers. It also has a similar level of supernatural intrigue although in this case more overtly as the lead character must solve her murder whilst she still in the space between life and death - the ''gap'', geddit? The series is written by Jim McCann who won an Eisner award for Return of the Dapper Men. Also out is Unwritten vol. 6 Tommy Taylor and the War of Words (DC) by Mike Carey & Peter Gross (though look for some very nice guest artists). Get ready to rumble as Tom Taylor fights back against the cabal that has tried so hard to destroy him.

For the weeklies, if you missed its appearance in 2000AD you really should take a look at Zaucer of Zilk #1 (IDW/2000AD) of 2. Two issues collecting Al Ewing & Brendan McCarthy's eyeball-messing dimension hopper. 'Nuff said.

 Marvel NOW! Point One (Marvel) introduces us to the movers and shakers in the new Marvel universe and Ultimate Iron Man #1 (Marvel) features the Ultimate Madarine. There's also Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4 (DC) of 6 Darwyn Cooke - “You tell them, Hollis. Tell them all what they did to us!” and Sword Of Sorcery #1 (DC) by Christy Marx & Aaron Lopresti sees the return of the protector of Gemworld. Finally, BPRD 1948 #1 (Dark Horse) of 5, by John Arcudi & Max Fiumara, features more historical pulp horror from Hellboy's early era.

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