THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (10/6/10 – Darwyn Cooke & Seth Are Fighting Mad in a Period Comics Showdown For the Ages)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Contrary to what you’re thinking, this is not from the new Palookaville, it’s an entirely random fumetti I happened to come across this week. Or, really it’s what North American publishers were calling ‘cinemanga’ until recently, in that it appears to have assembled from screengrabs of a 2006 action movie vehicle for Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, Don: The Chase Begins Again. Publisher Bollywood Comics appears to prefer the term ‘movic'; I guess the producers of Don enjoyed the results regardless of what they’re called, since the comic was included as a pack-in with the dvd release of the film. I bought it just for the comic.
Comics adaptations of Indian popular movies have been around for a while, of course; the still-going publishing concern Diamond Comics (yep) apparently released a bunch of comics based off of ’70s Amitabh Bachchan vehicles, possibly including the original 1978 Don, from which the new film was remade. I guess I was hoping for ‘drawn’ comics — the dvd case just said “Free Don Comic Book Inside!” — although a 130-page(!) foto-funnie is something on its own. If you enlarge the images and look really close, you’ll notice there’s been some digital mucking with the captures, giving them something approaching a painterly look, maybe slightly like photographs that have been touched up with color. No effort is made to translate the songs to comics, maybe fessing up to the difficulty of parsing something like that via preexisting images. Directly above is a collage-type page, although most of it falls into the traditional paneling of the uppermost image. Not quite as many sound effects or impact lines, though!
All of this naturally brings to mind the last time Indian comics art was seen in North America in much force: the ill-fated Virgin Comics, now Liquid Comics, of an imminent Grant Morrison-written animated series bible-thing, 18 Days. Virgin Comics co-founder Shekhar Kapur was the ‘movie’ presence in a publisher that seemed terribly concerned in roping in established film and music names for tie-in projects, but it wasn’t his award-heavy 1998 picture Elizabeth that came to my mind; it was a comics-influence film of his, 1987’s Mr. India, starring Anil Kapoor (best known in the west as the sinister game show host in Slumdog Millionaire) as a guy who finds an invisibility watch and takes on villain Amrish Puri (Mola Ram of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), all while romancing Lois Lane-like intrepid reporter Sridevi, if Lois Lane was prone to dressing like Charlie Chaplin and performing song & dance routines with backup dancers in glam rock leotards and blackface. Er, not all at once. Lots of solid colors behind that link, with an especially stylized sense of setting – something I could have stood to see in Virgin’s comics.
As for comics you might encounter for yourself this week:
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit: From movies-to-comics to books-to-comics – the second installment in artist Darwyn Cooke’s series of hardcover crime novel adaptations from IDW, this time beginning with an ultra-compressed ‘prelude’ adaptation of 1963’s The Man with the Getaway Face (also floating around as an oversized standalone comic book) and then moving on to the titular book (also ’63), in which unstoppable super-criminal and ultra-individual Parker wages war with the dispersed organization of the monied syndicate. Preview; $24.99.
Palookaville #20: In which one of the last surviving one-man-anthology-in-concept alternative comics switches it up to an 88-page hardcover format, and interestingly transforms into a proper multi-featured one-man anthology, as opposed to a simple vehicle for a later bookshelf comic’s serialization. Naturally, we do start off with Part One of Book Four of Clyde Fans (which ought to be concluding in #22, per Seth’s estimate in the tome’s Welcome essay), shifting the narrative focus back to squat Abraham Matchcard (the narrator from Book 1) in 1975 as the titular outlet’s manufacturer shuts down. But I think more immediate interest might form around a striking new fourteen-page portrait-of-depression autobiographical strip, following the artist on tour and concluding with the words “I hate myself… much more than anyone else in the world.” Plus: sketchbook selections (including a foldout), and a photo-laden essay on the cardboard city of Dominion. Samples; $19.95.
Fluorescent Black: This is the new Heavy Metal collected edition of an M.F. Wilson/Nathan Fox/Jeromy Cox serial, the subject of probably the most attention the magazine’s original contents has attracted in years. It’s an energetic near-future designer genes/kidnapping/romance action thing — kind of what you’d expect when contemplating “Heavy Metal” as a designation — now bolstered with twenty or so new pages to smooth the compiled reading. Happily presented as an oversized (12 3/4″ x 9 1/2″) softcover, because I suspect this’ll suffer more than most shrunken down. Preview; $24.95.
Orc Stain #5: I’d like to see this James Stokoe series in a huge format too, although Image comic books are fine for now; $2.99.
Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence: Current in graphic novel autobiography (and adaptation) – a Jamar Nicholas comics rendition of Geoffrey Canada’s 1996 account of a childhood in the Bronx. From Beacon Press. Preview; $14.00.
Nipper Vol. 1: 1963-1964: A compact 5.75″ x 8″ landscape-format paperback Drawn and Quarterly collection of wordless comics by Doug Wright, kind of an opposite Seth-designed number to his huge deluxe presentations of various John Stanley works (or The Collected Doug Wright: Canada’s Master Cartoonist, which I think if properly held against an external light source can transform any room into a scene from Susperia). It’s 112 pages of kids acting up, with an introduction by Brad Mackay. Samples; $16.95.
Blondie Vol. 1: Oh, this is pretty neat – an IDW hardcover presentation of what appears to be the entire opening phase of the late Chic Young’s still-going newspaper strip, in which the title character is a single flapper courting rich, rich Dagwood Bumstead. That’s 1930 through early 1933, ending with the wedding; $49.99.
Starman Omnibus Vol. 5 (of 6): Nearing the end of this hardcover effort to compile seemingly every last bit of James Robinson-related Starman material, with issues #47-60 of the original series, plus the DC 1,000,000 tie-in, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0, and pertinent materials from All Star Comics 80-Page Giant #1 and JSA: All Stars #4. This is from the period where David S. Goyer was co-writing some of the stuff; Geoff Johns turns in a few of his earliest comics writing appearances too. Artist Tony Harris is mostly absent, with Peter Snejbjerg and Steve Yeowell as the primary substitutes; $49.99.
Slam Dunk Vol. 12 (of 31): Slowly but surely puttering along is this Takehiko Inoue sports manga, one of the most compulsively readable and flat-out fun examples of a genre that’s never entirely caught on in North America; $9.99.
The CBLDF Presents: Liberty Annual 2010: Being the Image-published third in a now-annual series of fundraiser funnies for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, typically loaded up with recognizable mainline comic shop names. This time it’s Garth Ennis & Rob Steen (doing a new short for Ennis’ The Boys, which also sees its issue #47 released this week), Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese), Don Simpson (Megaton Man) (!!), Darick Robertson (co-creator of The Boys, but here on Conan), Larry Marder, Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, Dave Gibbons, Colleen Doran, Scott Morse, Rob Liefeld, Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá, Geoff Johns & Scott Kolins, Anina Bennett & Paul Guinan, Gail Simone & Amanda Gould, Brian Azzarello & Jill Thompson, Skottie Young, JG Roshell, and Ben McCool & Billy Tucci; $4.99.
DeadpoolMAX #1: I’ve stopped counting Deadpool series and side-projects and cameos and the like, but I can’t imagine a we-can-say-fuck-now take on the character won’t be sort of worth peering at, coming from writer David Lapham and artist Kyle Baker, the latter working in what seems to be an extra-textured variant on his digital modeled style. Preview; $3.99.
Greek Street #16: Noteworthy as the final issue of this Peter Milligan-written ancient myth/crime comic mash-up from Vertigo. Art by Davide Gianfelice; $2.99.
Neonomicon #2 (of 4): Continuing writer Alan Moore’s sequel to a previously adapted-to-comics work of Lovecraftian aggregate prose, drawn by Jacen Burrows; $3.99.
Batman: Hidden Treasures: And speaking of ‘Alan Moore follows it up,’ here’s one of the big superhero publishers’ periodic attempts at modernizing older materials – a reprint of an old Len Wein/Bernie Wrightson Batman story from Swamp Thing #7, newly colored by regular DC presence Alex Sinclair. Not the main event of this 56-page comic, no — that would be the first-ever presentation of a never-published Ron Marz/Bernie Wrightson/Kevin Nowlan Batman story, basically a heavily illustrated prose piece intended for an early issue of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, also newly colored by Sinclair — but I like to keep an eye on these suddenly shinier older comics. Preview (b&w); $4.99.
Batman: Odyssey #4 (of 13): This treasure, in contrast, is out in the open; $3.99.
CLiNT #1: Your writing-about-comics for the week… ok, no, this is actually the new Mark Millar-fronted glossy comics magazine (w’ other stuff), which appears to have scored some big box bookstore distribution in the US too, if my local Borders is any indication. There’s articles in it, about items of interest to men’s magazine-type readers. Still, it will afford that John Romita, Jr.-penciled art in Kick-Ass 2 an oversized venue (for the small chunks it’ll be appearing in), and I’m sure Steve McNevin & Tommy Lee Edwards (on, respectively, Millar’s Nemesis and the Jonathan Ross-written Turf) will benefit too, although neither of those comics are worth buying again if you’ve already got their respective debut issues (I’d say Nemesis is rote and sloppy enough to not be worth buying at all, though Turf as its moments in a wordy, sci-fi ‘period’ comic way) – that’s all you’re getting in here; $6.99.