Staff Picks – Week of 04/10/2017

Peppy in the Wild West
Hergé
Fantagraphics Books

Thomas Says: Peppy in the Wild West was first released in Belgium in 1934 in Le Vingtiéme Siécle the same Conservative newspaper in which Tintin first appeared. Although aimed primarily at children there’s enough here for adults to chew on as it’s very much a product of its time.

Hergé prevented the story being reprinted during the Nazi occupation of Belgium and it’s easy to see why as the story contains a number of references to the invaders and the arms dealers supplying both sides. Obviously as a children’s book it doesn’t go too far into detail about such heavy concerns but considering the time it was created; how could it not?

The art is a wonderful early example of Hergé’s distinctive style is beautifully reproduced in this volume by Fantagraphics in what is only the second time that this story has been reprinted in English since its original publication in the Thirties. A nice, light, enjoyable read for kids by one of the greats at the height of his powers, worth checking out.

Batman: White Knight
Sean Murphy (w,a)
DC Comics

Joe Says: As a huge Batman fan who has become disenfranchised by the current line, this title came as a breath of fresh air. Despite not being labeled as such, this reads as an Elseworlds book, allowing it to play with our pre-existing knowledge of the character. Dealing with themes of: how good is Batman for Gotham, a hyper-intelligent Joker and a lot of Batman: The Animated Series inspiration, all filtered through the inimitable Sean Murphy lens, this is a fascinating take on the Batman mythos.

As an added bonus, Murphy will be signing at the shop, October 23rd.

Tomb of Dracula: The Complete Collection Volume 1
Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin, Marv Wolfman & friends (w), Gene Colan, Alan Weiss, Rich Buckler & friends (a)
Marvel Comics

Fidel says: I’m so glad to see Marvel giving Tomb of Dracula the attention and love it deserves in this new series of reprints, emulating their popular Epic Collection format. This first volume features issues 1-15 of the classic series, alongside issues 1-4 of the Marvel B&W magazine Dracula Lives! While some extras can seem a bit superfluous or just tacked on in other editions, these reprints of Dracula Lives! are the perfect complement to the comic book run. The art is exquisite, and they’ve even been reprinted with all the extra articles and title pages from the time. Even better is the fact these magazines feature work by the enigmatic ‘Crusty Bunkers’, a pseudonym adopted by the artists at Neal Adams’ Continuity Studios for last-minute inking jobs and side-projects. If you’ve never read Tomb of Dracula before then you’re in for a real treat, and if you’re already a fan of the series then you’ll love these handy new editions of classic material. Highly recommended.

Comet In Moominland
Tove Jansson
Sort of Books

Karl says: Coming as part of new series of the delightful prose versions of Tove Jansson’s tales from Moominvalley, Comet in Moominland is a splendid beginning to the sagas.

An end-of-world level event is about to strike the Moomins and I remember reading this as a kid and being TERRIFIED! We are introduced to a fantasy world of otherness with the fluffy and generally very sensible trolls and they are all about to die.

The illustrations that pace the book are fantastic and I am really reminded how well crafted these stories are. Layers upon levels reveal emotionally-loaded fables definitely not just for kids. Jansson’s artwork is charged, fluid and dense, and propels events quite like the comet which threatens to snuff out all life in the valley.

Mis(h)adra
Iasmin Omar Ata
Gallery 13

Will says: From what I understood from a quick google, the title Mis(h)adra is a clever play on words for the Arabic word “misadra” meaning “seizure” and “mish adra” which is slang for “I cannot”. Mis(h)adra follows the daily life of Isaac who suffers from epilepsy and explores the difficulties this presents in social and academic encounters.

This book is visually stunning. Every page is bursting with colour and energy, Ata really taking full advantage of the comic medium to tell us a story that is emotional, mesmerising, funny, insightful and an overall joy to read.

Punisher: The Platoon #1
Garth Ennis (w), Goran Parlov (a)
Marvel Comics

Liz says: To my mind, no other writer can touch Garth Ennis when it comes to the Punisher. His staggering seven-year run came to an end in 2007, but every now and again he’ll dip back into the character’s mythos and continue to flesh him out. Punisher: The Platoon #1 provides a look at Frank Castle’s arrival in Vietnam. Part of the story is set in the present, when a journalist (whose identity remains unknown the reader) interviews the remaining members of Castle’s first command. The story skips between the present and the past, and we see that from the beginning (long before the deaths of his family), Castle is a man who is very pragmatic about what needs to be done to fight a war. Ennis is an expert in war history, and his understanding of strategy and terminology is meticulous. So is his understanding of the character. Reading another Ennis-penned Punisher story is such a treat, and this was like stepping right back in where he left off.