Once again I’m two weeks behind. I am a busy, busy Ghoul, Children. On the other hand, there is a good haul this week. The cold wind is howling through the rafters, but here in Grim Manor, the fire place is going strong, and Mr. Jackson and I are warm and toasty around the brandy cask. So with no further ado, let’s see what’s in the stash this week…
Mr. Jackson is doing his doing his best James Dean lean in this picture, trying to play off his drunkenness for swagger. Kicking off the Haul from two weeks ago, we have Star Wars: The Force Awakens #6, which wraps up the comic adaptation of the movie, and finishes appropriately in late November, as the first weak snow fell in the swamp, and the first pangs of my annual December Star Wars mood hit me. Next we got two books from DC’s new Young Animal Imprint, Doom Patrol #3 and Mother Panic #1, sporting art by Tommy Lee Edwards, who drew the excellent Mad Max comics of last year. Then I picked up BLACK #1 at the suggestion of my fiendish friends who run a comic shop in an old coastal colonial city. I picked it up because they said it was good (and it is), a small press indie effort that posits a world where the only people born with super powers are black (spoiler alert, the white people in the book don’t like it), and also because I’m a fan of the Type O Negative song. And November is definitely Frank Frazetta/ Robert E. Howard/ Sword and Sorcery month, but it’s also James Bond season, so I picked up the final issue of James Bond: Eidolon, as well as the first two issues of James Bond: Hammerhead, from IDW. Eidolon was particularly great, it’s the last issue (I think) by writer Warren Ellis, who is fantastic. I had just finished reading his recent run on Marvel’s Moon Knight, as well, which is also fantastic. But Ellis (an Englishman) writes pitch perfect Bond stories. Because Bond books and movies are great escapist adventure stories, but the character, is a horrible sociopath who hates women and kills for the government. So I’ve never been a fan of when he is portrayed as a charming rake, as Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan played him. Ellis balances what makes the books and movies work, while portraying Ian Flemming’s Bond objectively, as an unlikable asshole, who is somehow keeping the western world safe. Hammerhead marks the addition of a new creative team, with Jerry Duggan writing, and is so far, a lot of fun.
Enter last week’s stash. The regular haul was very light, only two books. B.P.R.D., a book I’ve bought faithfully for over ten years, and have never once been disappointed with (seriously folks, it’s incredible. Go forth and spread the gospel), and Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye #2. I haven’t read either of them yet.
Money is tight, children. And I can’t steal and barter everything. Sometimes you have to slam a heavy metal coin on the table and pay for your comics. But I have a sickness, and I can’t get enough of the cheap thrill of wandering into the newsstands, used book stores, and comic shops of the world, and leaving with a small library of fantastic four-color tales under my arm, for less than the price of a movie ticket. And in that spirit, I found myself traversing the ancient cobblestone streets of old city last friday looking to get my fix. The sun wrestled with the clouds, and the warm light played hopscotch with the chill breeze. Dead leaves skittered over gaping holes in the streets where construction workers ran loud unseen machinery down in the dark, like the Morlocks of Welles’ Time Machine. I stumbled into the Shop Atomic, and went strait for the dollar bins.
The dollar bin is the addict’s bread and butter. Have no real expendable cash, but need a pile of reading material? Right this way, good sir, and for a dollar an issue, have this full four-part miniseries, this writer’s six issue run on Batman, Every James Harren- drawn issue of Conan the Barbarian, fresh from the source, only the finest. The bins never disappoint. What I found was the entire second Weird World series, by Sam Humphries and Original artist, Mike Del Mundo, sans issue 3 (a common peril of dollar bins, everything but one issue). This I have yet to read, but looks very promising, see the previous weekly haul for info on Weird World vol. 0. I also got all four issues of Secret Wars: THORS, the mini series by Jason Aaron featuring a dozen or more incarnations of the Thunder God co-existing as a sort of Tuetonic Godly police force investigating the murders of a nurse named Jane Foster from every reality. I’m up to the last issue, and it is EXCELLENT so far.
I found one last gem in the dollar bins, which was Wednesday Comics #4. Several years ago, DC Comics put out an experimental series called Wednesday Comics, which was a weekly anthology miniseries printed in large Newspaper format, re-imagining a dozen or so of their titles of past and present as Sunday Comic – style newspaper strips, via Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo or Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant. This produced some truly killer series, like Brian Azzerello and Eduardo Risso’s Batman, Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook’s Kamandi, Neil Gaimen and Mike Allred’s Metemorpho, and Paul Pope’s Strange Adventures. It is the fourth installment of the latter, which this dollar bin find brings me. This is one of my favorite pages of the entire series, and finding this dollar bin duplicate means I can cut it out and frame it here on the walls of the swamp mansion.
Good thing the Widow Sunday has good taste and is okay with this sort of wall art.
lastly, did I mention that November was Barbarian month? We got two collections, one trade paperback and an oversized hardcover. I would call them graphic novels, but something about that phrase implies an inherent shame in the term “comics”, which I do not personally carry. HEAD LOPPER & THE ISLAND or A PLAGUE OF BEASTS by Andrew MacLean. I had never heard of this book. I saw it on the shelf, needed it, and ordered it online the day after the American election. My cheap protest was to buy a comic called Head Lopper on Amazon Smile knowing that a slice of my money would be donated to the NAACP and that made me feel slightly better.
I have yet to read Head Lopper, but for the first fifteen or so pages, but I’m in love with it. It is something like a Conan the Barbarian saturday morning cartoon, if it were made by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Power Puff Girls), with a little bit of Adventure Time thrown in for good measure.
And finally, last Friday, while picking up the dollar bin books, I made a horrible financial decision that I rationalized the hell out of, and bought Eerie Presents: El Cid, by various Authors, and artist Gonzalo Mayo.
Warren Publishing in the 1970’s was quick to cash in on the success of Marvel’s non-comics code regulated black and white magazine Savage Sword of Conan, with their own, in-name-only adaptation of Spanish historical hero El Cid, re-imagined as a sword and sorcery hero who frequently encountered scantily clad buxom women. The art is utterly breathtaking. I am a huge Savage Sword fan, let alone Conan fan, and this looks like the absolute greatest knock-off in history. It was 16 dollars. s16 dollars for the complete El Cid stories, in glorious, over-sized hardcover black and white. I couldn’t help myself.
And as far as I can tell, that’s it, kids. Unless I am forgetting something, that’s all the comics I’ve amassed in the last two weeks. I’ll be honest with you, Mr. Jackson and I have been drinking pretty hard. He is in full GargleHinx mode right now, but too drunk to do any real damage. In fact my former cat-familiar, now in full monster form, is curled up, slowly falling asleep on top of a junked AMC Gremlin in the back yard with me, watching the bonfire, listening to Camel’s Moon Madness album as a light snow falls. I have spell-checked nothing, I’m a monster. Now I have to finish that Thors series, and try and crack into that El Cid collection before Mr. Sandman comes for me. If I don’t see you, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in America (I was at the first one, by the way, with my cousin Squanto, weeks before those treacherous white men screwed us out of our land). I hope you eat well, watch some Ray Harryhausen movies, or the Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon. Or football, if that’s your thing. But go home and see your family. And for Fuck’s sake, don’t go to the mall, just stay with your loved ones. But if you can help it, read some comics. Especially barbarian-adjacent comics. Until next time, boyles and ghouls.