Staff Picks – Week of 13/08/2017

Sax Rohmer’s Dope
Trina Robbins (adaption)
IDW Publishing

Thomas says: I must confess to not knowing too much about Sax Rohmer’s work apart from the obvious racism and yellow peril of his work, work that is now well over a century old in some cases so i was intrigued when i saw that the legendary Trina Robbins had adapted one of his novels.

Although short, this story moves at a brisk pace and is most definitely trash as C. Thompson Spike states with glee in her introduction but as Ms Robbins points out in her own introduction, the sins of the past shouldn’t be forgotten so, although rather uncomfortable, this book is definitely worth the read especially for the wonderful art by Robbins who’s work has always had a breathlessness to it which works wonderfully with this book.

Ideally i’d prefer to see Robbins producing more original work but anything by her is always welcome to this bitter old man.

Hard Boiled (Second Edition)
Frank Miller (w), Geof Darrow (a)
Dark Horse

Joe says: As a huge fan of Geof Darrow, I already own Hard Boiled… in two formats actually, but I couldn’t resist this gorgeous new hardcover. With this second edition comes a recolouring by the master, Dave Stewart but it leaves me with mixed feelings.

What Stewart has done is highlighted Darrow’s intricate artwork, pulling out details and making each element it’s own. This is wonderful to look at and fascinating to pore over, studying the ornate details and complex busy-ness of Darrow’s pages, however, from a distance, the pages blend into a muddy mess. Where the previous colourist tended to paint the pages with large swathes of colour, much of the detail got lost but it aided the storytelling. Stewart’s palette is also muted compared to the previous, it’s more true to life but less thematically impressive (although I do appreciate the lack of clearly digital gradient).

Overall, if you’re a fan of Darrow then this really is worth buying; more as an art book than anything else (or just to match your Shaolin Cowboy hardcovers), but if the main draw of the book is Miller’s writing, I’d say you can stick with your oversized softcover.

A Tunnel To Another Place
Apolo Cacho

Karl says: I think it’s the colours, paper and quality of print that brought this book to my attention. The intense, almost abstract cover leads to a beautiful two tone orange interior and the story begins to unfold.

A Tunnel to Another Place, also titled A Paradise for the Aztecs is a meditation on the desperate and almost insane state of life as we know it in the modern age, poignantly illustrated in a jagged, bleached out and ultimately compelling manner. Short, sharp tales of life, death, money and despair combined with jarring, almost hallucinatory visuals blend to deliver a punchy critique un where humankind finds itself in this present slow motion extinction event often referred to as life.

As I said, the production values drew me to this comic, published by 2dcloud. Orbital has a small selection of gorgeous books and comics from these guys – I highly recommend them.

Time Capsule
Ed Stockham (w/a)
Scratch that records

Camila says: Lovely collection of diary comics by Ed Stockham drawn over the past few years.

In the introductory comic, Ed says a lot has happened in between when he first started these and now, but that it feels like the moments depicted in the comics live outside all of that, in their own pocket of space and time. And they really do – they feel timeless, are often relatable, and invariably so very endearing.

I dare you not to smile while looking at little moments in life through the eyes of Ed Stockham!