Staff Picks – Week of 29/06/2016

Milo Manara’s Gullivera
Manara (w/a)

Chris says: I first encountered Milo Manara’s Gullivera in an old issue of Heavy Metal and immediately fell in love. Manara is the master of erotic comics, and in this tale he reimagines Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels – replacing the title character with his young and beautiful female lead. The result is a playful homage to the classic novel with Manara’s own brand of titillation sprinkled throughout. There’s some genuinely funny moments, punctuated by jaw-dropping artwork and visuals. Overall it’s a great time to be a fan of European comics, with so many wonderful classics finally being translated. Fantagraphics have just released the first book in their extensive Crepax Library, and later this year Dark Horse will start publishing the Moebius Library as well as Tamburini & Liberatore’s Ranx. I can’t say that Gullivera is for everyone, but if you’ve never explored the work of Manara and you’d like to, then it’s a wonderful place to start.

Captain America #2
Nick Spencer (w), Jesus Saiz (a)
Marvel Comics

Liz says: After the sensational revelation in Captain America #1 and the ensuing Twitter meltdown, my thoughts were that if we all just held onto our bonnets and sat tight, we’d get a satisfactory explanation. And phew! Here it is. Not only did Captain America #2 provide a sound basis for the current state of affairs, it was a simply a good solid issue that gave you all the backstory you’ll need to proceed. And in case anyone was worried that things would become less interesting once Steve’s allegiances were explained, I am happy to report that I am now even more unsettled than I was before, and though I’m armed with answers the suspense is still killing me. All I can say is: bring on issue three!

Mouse Guard: Art of Bricks
David Petersen, Alice Finch and Seattle’s ArchLUG Architecture Group

Ryan says: If you’re anything like me, Lego was a massive part of your childhood. It’s a construction toy that has inspired creativity in many generations, allowing the builder to make practically anything they could imagine out of bricks and pegs, and as a result it has become an integral part of culture, not just in its Danish origins, but internationally. So it only makes sense that as Lego-fans have gotten older, the pieces available have become more broad in range, opening the floodgates to what are now known as Master Builders – people who use Lego as an artistic medium. As a result, you can find dedicated builder groups across the world, and Seattle’s ArchLUG group is no exception.

In this awe-inspiring hardcover, a couple dozen of the group’s members have built stunning dioramas depicting scenes set the world of David Petersen’s series Mouse Guard, and their use of Lego pieces to great effect as their sole building material. The sets and figurines, photographed by Alice Finch, are so beautifully constructed, that you almost forget they’re made of the same toys you grew up playing with. You don’t even need to have read Mouse Guard beforehand to appreciate the art of what the group have made in this book, and in that way it makes for an ideal coffee-table book or gift for a friend.

Clear Line Clash
Carl Stimpson Exhibition
At the Orbital Gallery

Karl says: Saturday evening saw the opening night of the latest exhibition in the Orbital gallery space. Clear Line Clash is a selection of the latest paintings by Carl Stimpson. To quote from the excellent introduction to this show by Craig Wilson; For over a decade, Stimpson’s practice has drawn on a variety of sources in the development of both its form and content – namely the ‘ligne claire’ technique inaugurated by Belgian cartoonist and Tintin creator, Herge; late-twentieth-century British popular music and the trademarks of well-known industrial brands’.

Walking into this exhibition of giantesses on giant canvases really is like walking into a comic strip. There are plenty of postcards, prints and so forth top pick up too. I cannot recommend this show highly enough – it runs until the end of the month – do try to make it down!

Small Press Day at Orbital

Camila says: The very first Small Press Day, a celebration of independent publishing and all things DIY is taking place in less than a week – next Saturday, July 9th!

Shops all over the country will be hosting signings and other events to promote and celebrate their local comics & creators, and we’ve got our day packed with small press goodness from start to end here at Orbital, with nearly 30 creators signing, a comics workshop, and an entire collaborative comic produced on the day, in conjunction with our friends at Gosh comics.

Check out our event listing for more information, this blog post to get an idea of what to expect. See you next Saturday!