Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Recent Releases: October 2011


1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die edited by Paul Gravett.
Cassell Illustrated ISBN 978-1844036981, 3 October 2011, 960pp, £20.00. [£10.40 from Amazon]
Over the centuries, comic books and their offshoots, such as graphic novels, and bandes dessinees have evolved into a phenomenally popular, influential, and unique art form with which we can express our opinions, our fantasies, our nightmares, and our dreams. In short: comics are emphatically no longer just for kids. This diverse, constantly evolving medium is truly coming into its own in the 21st century, from Hollywood's blockbuster adaptations of super-powered caped crusaders to the global spread of Japan's manga and its spinoffs, and from award-winning graphic novels such as Maus and Persepolis to new forms such as online webcomix. But comics also have a long and rich history, dating back at least to the Swiss teacher Rodolphe Topffer in the early 19th century, and far earlier in China. 1001 Comic Books You Must Read Before You Die is the perfect introduction to this dynamic and globally popular medium. There have been other guides to the best comic books, but none has embraced every genre and scoured the globe to glean the very greatest works of sequential art, graphic literature, bandes dessinees, tebeos, fumetti, manga, manhwa, komiks, strips, historietas, quadrinhos, beeldverhalen, and plain old comics. This authoritative guide is organized according to the year of first publication in the country of origin. An opening section acknowledges pioneering pre-1900 masterpieces, followed by sections divided by decade, creating a fascinating year-by-year chronicle of the comics medium worldwide.
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Baggage by The Etherington Brothers.
David Fickling Books (DFC Library) ISBN 978-0385618571, 6 October 2011, 64pp, £9.99. [£7.49 from Amazon]
Baggage tells the tale of Randall, a happy-go-lucky but disaster-prone lost property officer working for the Tram service, deep in the heart of Triptych City.
__Randall's weary boss has presented him with an impossible ultimatum: either he locates the owner of the oldest item stored in the immense lost property warehouse by the end of the day, or he’s out of a job!
__So begins an adventurous journey through a wondrous city. Randall’s enquiries attract a myriad of bizarre, often amusing, and sometimes dangerous characters. Clues are uncovered where and when he least expects them, and help arrives from the strangest of quarters.
__But wherever Randall goes, trouble is sure to follow. Will he succeed in his impossible mission? And even if he does, just how much of the city will be left standing?
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Best of Alex 2011 by Charles Peattie & Russell Taylor.
Prion ISBN 978-1853758270, 13 October 2011, 88pp, £9.99. [£6.29 from Amazon]
Another annus horribilissimus for Alex, although the new coalition government offers a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel and bankers are 'allowed' to claim bonuses again. Alex and his ilk are not quite viewed as the lowest-of-the-low any more.
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British Comics: A Cultural History by James Chapman.
Reaktion Books ISBN 978-1861898555, 15 October 2011, 320pp, £25.00. [£23.75 from Amazon]
British Comics is a unique cultural history of British comic papers and magazines, from their origins in the late nineteenth century to the present day. It shows how comics were transformed in the early twentieth century from adult amusement to imaginative reading matter for children, and relates the rise of the major comic publishers and the emergence of the mighty duopoly of Amalgamated Press and D.C. Thomson that would dominate the industry for half a century. Beginning with the first British comic 'superstar' Ally Sloper - 'A Selection, Side-splitting, Sentimental, and Serious, for the Benefit of Old Boys, Young Boys, Odd Boys generally and even Girls' - whose various misadventures reflected the emergence of a middle-class leisure economy in the late nineteenth century, British Comics goes on to describe the heyday of comics in the 1950s and '60s, when titles such as School Friend and Eagle sold a million copies a week, and analyses the major genres including schoolgirl fantasies, sport and war stories for boys. The author charts the development of a new breed of violent comics in the 1970s, including the controversial Action and 2000 AD, and also considers the attempt of an American comic publisher, Marvel, to launch a new hero for the British market in the form of Captain Britain. He goes on to document the appearance in the 1980s and '90s of adult-oriented comics such as Warrior, Crisis, Deadline and Revolver and alternative comics such as Viz, and concludes by considering the work of important contemporary comic writers including Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Ian Edginton, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis. British Comics explains what children and adults thought of their comics and why some titles prospered while others failed, and also maps the changing structure of the comic publishing industry and how comic publishers, writers and artists have responded to the tastes of their consumers. Ultimately, the book argues that British comics are a distinctive kind of publishing that is different from (and certainly not inferior to) American, French and Japanese comics. An invaluable reference for comics collectors and fans world-wide, British Comics is a fascinating and thorough history that showcases the major role that comics have played in the imaginative lives of British juveniles - and some adults.
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Charley's War: Hitler's Youth by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun.
Titan Books ISBN 978-0857682994, 28 October 2011, 112pp, £14.99. [£11.24 from Amazon]
In this explosive new volume of never-before-collected comic strip, Charley comes face to face with a young corporal who will eventually change the face of the world as leader of the Nazi party: Adolf Hitler. The eighth action-packed volume of Charleys War is rich in the detailed minutiae of the terror-punctuated existence of a Tommy.
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Commando: 50 Years a Home for Heroes by George Low.
Carlton ISBN 978-1847328496, 13 October 2011, 176pp, £19.99. [£12.99 from Amazon]
50 years of Commando...home for heroes...and still going strong! And now you...yes, YOU...can advance shoulder to shoulder with the bravest and the best through six of the finest Commando stories ever...brought together in this battling book for all Commando fans out there! When the toughest of the tough get going, the action accelerates from page to blistering page. Can you cope with the pressure? Are you sure? Good, because we're also going to unleash the stinging power of 50 full-colour covers on you as well. That's one for every hard-fought year, and you'll need nerves of steel to get in close...combat close...to pick out the finer details of these startling illustrations. You just know it will be well worth the risk. And all the gen from the classified documents which shield the secrets of Commando comic books will be there too for you to explore and enjoy. The truth is revealed about the 50-year fight from day one of a carefully planned and well executed campaign to bring you the best of the action to rock you right back on your heels. You've proved you can take all that's thrown at you by reading this far, so don't miss out on this mother of all battle books. Remember what they say. Who dares wins...and that could be YOU!
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Cover Story: The DC Art of Brian Bolland by Brian Bolland.
Titan Books ISBN 978-0857684721, 28 October 2011, 208pp, £29.99. [£18.89 from Amazon]
This new hardcover collects covers of legendary artist Bian Bolland. Featuring highly detailed and meticulous craftsmanship combined with dramatic takes on the worlds best-known superheroes, Bollands work has been featured on Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Zatanna and the Vertigo series The Invisibles and Animal Man.
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Cradlegrave by John Smith & Edmund Bagwell.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1907992469, 13 October 2011, 96pp, £13.99. [£8.99 from Amazon]
After serving eight months at a Young Offenders Institution for arson, Shane Holt returns to his home on the Ravenglade Estate during a long, hot summer. Plagued by the ASBO generation, the estate has seen its fair share of problems but nothing comes close to the horror that lurks within Ted and Mary's council flat...
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Defoe: Queen of Zombies by Pat Mills & Leigh Gallagher.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1907992476, 13 October 2011, 144pp, £14.99. [£8.99 from Amazon]
1669, three years after the Great Fire has devastated London. From the ashes rose an army of the undead hungry for human flesh. Titus Defoe and his elite squad of zombie hunters protect the living from the legions of reeks. Now they face their greatest foe - La Voisin, the Queen of the zombies!
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Super Animal Adventure Squad by James Turner.
David Fickling Books (DFC Library) ISBN 978-0857560278, 6 October 2011, 48pp, £9.99. [£6.69 from Amazon]
Super Animal Adventure Squad comprises two hilarious stories for you to enjoy: ‘The Teatime of Doom’ and ‘The Case of the Baboon Bandit’! Join Agent K, Bearbot, Irwin, Rex and Beesley as they battle to solve two thrilling crimes.
__In ‘The Teatime of Doom’, our heroes are faced with a Level 6 Cake Emergency as cakes suddenly disappear from bakeries across the country. Without a mid-afternoon treat, the very icing of society would dissolve! Can the SAAS recover the precious pastries in time, or will they come to a sticky end?
__In ‘The Case of the Baboon Bandit’, pirates have stolen the world’s most valuable treasure, the Jade Baboon of Rangoon. Does the squad have what it takes to defeat the Dread Pirate Green Beard? Cutlasses, cookery and comedy capers abound in this brilliantly funny follow-up!
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