Sorry folks, Blogger didn't think my site was cool enough to post for over an hour today.

*Well! Now that’s how you return to a column after an absence! The return of Rich Johnston, as every last person reading this by know no doubt knows, came fully equipped with exclusive comments from Alan Moore, forcing the entirety of the comics Internet news scene to follow Rich’s lead. And quite a few decent little nuggets were squirreled away in that story for determined readers, aside from the obvious; for example, there’s finally a confirmation that Moore is writing some sort of concluding “Tom Strong” story to wrap things up on that front. I’m almost certain that nobody knew that Moore and O’Neill were planning a “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” original graphic novel until it was mentioned there (although the title “Dark Dossier” sounds weirdly familiar). And apparently, Moore’s second prose novel is no longer titled “A Grammar” but shall be known as “Jerusalem”. And it looks like Moore has retuned to drawing, to do the cover art by himself. And he’s getting married again.

And that’s not even examining the real meat of the article, only the latest development in the saga of Moore and DC. I’ll have my thoughts out in a certain format on Friday, as I wait for further developments and try to parse things out. But let’s just say that the whole situation is truly a defining saga of modern comics. More later. And hey, maybe I’ll finally get to writing that stuff on “Voice of the Fire” by then, seeing as how there’s still not too much out in…


The Comics Journal #268: Not the shoujo manga issue, that’s next time. This one sees a brief return to typical Journal business: interviews and news and review, without a unifying central theme. Feature chats are with Craig Thompson, who’s made some interesting comments about the Journal in the past, hopefully making for a happening talk. But more importantly, to me, is the second interview - Bob “Flaming Carrot” Burden! The Journal’s site hasn’t been updated with the full contents yet, but give them time. EDIT 1 (5/25/05, 12:07 AM): Time's up! Here's the listings, including plenty of bonus interview stuff with Thompson (seven pages worth!) and some cut material from the Burden chat (with a focus on surrealism). EDIT 2 (5/25/05 1:53 AM): And according to Dirk Deppey, that online Burden material was mistakenly listed on the Journal's site as cut; it's actually an excerpt from the interview as printed. So now you all know.

Desperado Primer: And speaking of Mr. Burden, I believe I saw this little thing advertised in the very first Image issue of “Flaming Carrot”, months ago (‘Desperado’ is the imprint under which the Carrot and other books appear). I guess it’s not saying much for the line when the big introductory primer is as late as this, and costs $2 to boot. But I might be tempted by the presence of new Carrot. No, actually, I won’t. With the Journal and other things out, I really can’t be arsed with something like this. Maybe later. Ha ha. I said 'arsed'. OFF TO THE PUB, MATES!!!

Winsor McCay Early Works Vol. 5: Oh no, I haven’t even found a copy of Vol. 4 yet. Being as low as it is on my list of current purchase priorities, I haven’t been looking around online of course, which would solve the mystery in short order. Anyway, this installment presents the entirety of McCay’s “Phoolish Phillip” strip, the remainder of “Hungry Henrietta”, plus even more “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend” and “A Pilgrim’s Progress”. According to Checker’s site, they’ve already got up to Vol. 8 planned out, so hopefully I’ll find time to catch up before I get totally buried. And if you didn’t catch Fantagraphics’ September solicitations, they’re bringing their own one-volume McCay odds-and-ends omnibus “Daydreams and Nightmares” back into print, so keep a look out for that.

Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Vol. 3: What the hell, Checker?! Dumping all the cool vintage material on the market in one week? This one collects further adventures of Flash by his creator, in lovely oversized hardcover landscape format. Checker is still being a little vague as to how long this series is going to go (likely the product of a pre-production format change, which altered the book’s dimensions and cut its page count), but I estimate that it’ll take up to Volume 6 or 7 to polish off the complete Raymond run, which ended with Raymond’s joining the Marines in 1944. Checker already has new reprints planned: “Theodor Seuss Geisel: The Early Works”, a hardcover series reprinting the good Doctor’s political cartoons and advertising art, along with assorted early drawings. Due to start in September.

Nightjar #4 (of 4): Actually, you know what the most fascinating and disturbing bit of that Johnston piece was? The little note that Avatar publisher William Christensen forwarded Moore a wad of cash to help him pay his taxes. Yikes! Didn’t Moore make over a million bucks on the “From Hell” and “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” movie rights? That was a little while ago, sure, but yow. Anyway, in return, Moore is writing his first-ever original material specifically intended for Avatar (unless you count the endnotes to “Yuggoth Cultures” or the afterward to “Alan Moore’s Writing for Comics”). Oscar Zarate has been mentioned in the past (by Johnston, actually) as artist for this book, so hopefully that’ll hold true. In the meantime, there’s plenty of tangentially Moore-related material to enjoy, like this long-delayed finale to a series that Moore and Bryan Talbot devised back in the early ’80s. Written by frequent Moore collaborator Antony Johnston, with art by Max Fiumara; it’s intended as a series of miniseries, but considering that it’s taken well over a year for just these four issues and a prose special to arrive, well, who knows when the rest of it might show up? It is pretty decent magical horror material, all things considered, and I’d like to see more of it in the future. And it’s not as if Avatar hasn’t conditioned us all to prepare for delay (so where’s issue #2 of “Yuggoth Creatures”? or the expanded “Yuggoth Cultures” trade? or the last two issues of “Frank Miller’s Robocop”? or the rest of “The Unfunnies”? and weren’t they planning to finish “Glory” at some point?).

The Golden Plates #2 (of 12): More Mormon action from Mike and Laura Allred! The first issue certainly looked great: Mrs. Allred’s colors really stood out, despite almost the whole thing taking place in a desert. But Mr. Allred’s sequential adaptation was maybe a bit too concerned with presenting as much text as possible, weighing the first issue’s initial half down with captions and chat. Things really loosened up by the second half though, allowing for some very pretty revelations. Obviously, if you’re allergic to Mormons or something (as are a surprisingly large number of people I talk to about this book) you’ll want nothing to do with this. And I’ll readily admit that it’s not the smoothest translation to the comics page either. But there’s something curiously compelling about this stuff. For some comments by Mike Allred himself on questions of faith and how it relates to his prior work, check this out.

Bolland Strips: Hey, I remember these things from “Negative Burn”! Short philosophic or just plain bizarre gag pages by Brian Bolland, who’s probably still best known in the US for that “Batman” book from years back and a bunch of covers. May be interesting.

Vampire Hunter D Vol. 1: Years back, when I was a voracious anime consumer, I was stunned to learn that unlike 90% of Japanese animated product, the 1985 cheeseball feature gore classic “Vampire Hunter D” was based on a prose novel rather than on comics. “Well, we’ll never be seeing that in the US,” I thought. Never, ever underestimate the power of a financial boom, because here it goddamned is, the 1983 first in Hideyuki Kikuchi’s popular 13-book series, with illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano, whose design work on the anime has become inseparable from Kikychi’s words. Certainly the most interesting release of the week on the manga-related front.

Billy the Kid’s Old-Timey Oddities #2 (of 4): Nice, even surprisingly effective first issue, and hopefully a good second issue on this Eric Powell-written mini, with lovely art by Kyle Hotz.

City of Tomorrow #2 (of 6): New Chaykin. Good first issue. All you need to know.