Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Books, LOVELY books!

After the rather lovely message Lorenzo posted on the 1st (you old charmer, you) I have decided to start 2011 with a message of pure capitalist greed. Ignoring the more selfless sentiments of peace and love and well-wishing to all men, I want to talk about presents.

Largely because I got some real corkers and they're worth sharing.

It was a very booky Christmas for me, which I love, and although there are non-comic highlights worth discussing (Brian Cox's 'Wonders of the Solar System' and Neil MacGregor's 'A History of the World in 100 Objects' chief among them) this is a blog about what we do best, and that is comic creating. So let's have a good look at four titles worth shouting about.

Anyone who enjoys adventure and has not heard the name Artemis Fowl is in for a treat as Eoin Colfer's second novel (in the ongoing chronicles of a young master criminal) receives the graphic novel treatment. The entire team that brought Fowl's first escapade to comic life return and deliver a superb visual interpretation of an already excellent story.

Lorenzo and I have both mentioned Blacksad before on this blog and for VERY good reason. It is quite simply one of the most beautiful fully-painted graphic novels we have ever seen. Thanks to international enthusiasm for the series, the American publisher Dark Horse has just released a stunning hardback collection gathering the first three anthropomorphic detective tales, including the previously French-language-only 'Red Soul'. Treat yourself, treat a friend. They will thank you for it.

What Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun achieved with Charley's War is nothing short of miraculous. Writing in the dying days of the truly-action-packed weekly children's comic world of the early 1980's, Pat's sprawling epic is widely regarded as a classic. Detailing the funny, tragic and often horrendous experiences of a young boy soldier, Charley Bourne, in the First World War, this comic book series showcases two creators at their peak. Pat's stories are sublimely delivered but the addition of Joe Colquhoun's masterful black and white artwork renders the whole experience on a new level. It's brutal, it's bloody, it's heart-breaking, it's breath-taking and it's available in lots of lovely books.

Lastly - one I purchased for myself! In a recent interview on the Star Wars site, I mentioned that one of my favourite all time writers was Archie Goodwin. Not only did he bring true horror to life in the gore and shock filled pages of Creepy comics, but he is the man responsible for originally taking Star Wars: A New Hope and transforming Lucas's sci-fi universe into a superb comic book series. He writes with a genuine sense of fun that so many comic book authors discard as soon as they become successful. Just before Christmas I managed to pick up a copy of the second superb 400-page collection of the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series for £1.99 in a sale!!! And almost every single story was written by Archie.

So there you go, four books to make you smile long into the New Year. They're certainly keeping me quiet!

More recommendations and news and comics and blurb and fun stuff soon.