Above we see the late Yves Chaland paying 'tribute' to the late Sylvia Kristel via the Belgian theatrical release of renowned Ed Begley, Jr. vehicle Private Lessons (1981) - I'd kind of like to know who drew the original poster Chaland is referencing. Because that's that I think about movies like Private Lessons: gosh, who illustrated the poster? It was one of Kristel's few cinema outings outside of Europe; that same year she had reunited with Emmanuelle director Just Jaeckin for an adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Right after that, Jaeckin would collaborate with a different Métal Hurlant veteran, François Schuiten, who would contribute some designs to The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984) at around the same time Enki Bilal was performing similar functions on Alain Resnais' La vie est un roman (1983) and Michael Mann's The Keep (1983) - it was supposedly Mann who tipped Bilal off to exactly how much that generation of Franco-Belgian comics artists had inspired the genre filmmaking of the time, though such stories may be apocryphal.
I'm just pleased to see English dialogue fluttering upward toward Chaland's architecture. This is, of course, a detail from Humanoids' recent edition of Chaland's Young Albert; note the Dupuy-Berberian font for the translated text. Hopefully this is but a small taste of an avalanche of Chaland releases to come - or, as much of an avalanche as is possible from the man's short 'n sweet body of work. Which makes it all the more frustrating! I dunno - what do you say, gekiga-version-of-James-Bond-from-that-one-Golgo-13-storyline-where-he-assassinates-Dodi-Fayed-and-finds-himself-caught-up-in-a-British-tabloid-driven-plot-to-murder-Diana-Princess-of-Wales?
PLEASE NOTE: What follows is not a series of capsule reviews but an annotated selection of items listed by Diamond Comic Distributors for release to comic book retailers in North America on the particular Wednesday, or, in the event of a holiday or occurrence necessitating the close of UPS in a manner that would impact deliveries, Thursday, identified in the column title above. Not every listed item will necessarily arrive at every comic book retailer, in that some items may be delayed and ordered quantities will vary. I have in all likelihood not read any of the comics listed below, in that they are not yet released as of the writing of this column, nor will I necessarily read or purchase every item identified; THIS WEEK IN COMICS! reflects only what I find to be potentially interesting.
The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine Vol. 1: A little over one year ago today, Dark Horse announced a renewed relationship with artist Geof Darrow, who'd last been seen in comics via the 2004-07 series Shaolin Cowboy, which I tend to remember as something of a precursor to the crazy-liberated art-first action comics that would follow in the later '00s - your Prison Pit and the like. What else can be said for a series that gleefully expended virtually its entire first issue on a 360 degree panorama of miscellaneous thugs the title character would murder in issue #2? I mean, besides "the Wachowskis can publish any kind of comic they want?" But now the Matrix-funded Burlyman Entertainment is dormant, the seven original issues of Shaolin Cowboy have still yet to be so much as announced to be collected in English, and here, now, in October of 2012, comes the first new release under the title via Dark Horse: a 96-page book of illustrated prose, with Darrow's illustrations backing a story by Andrew Vachss, a la their recent collaborations in Dark Horse Presents. Michael A. Black & Gary Gianni are also involved. Not really what I'd been expecting, although I will still look forward to future comic book releases, maybe to tie in with the release of Cloud Atlas, in that they might only be available in a future reality where I am played by myself. Preview; $15.99.
Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (of 4): Being a new solo Image series from Brandon Graham, who is also masterminding the Prophet relaunch over in Rob Liefeld's corner of the business right now, although this can be considered the more proper follow-up to Graham's popular King City. It's a about a young organ-running lady from a fantasy future Russia and her boyfriend, who has a werewolf penis. Those with sharp memories will recall an earlier Multiple Warheads one-off from Oni in 2007, while those with dirty minds (and, perhaps not coincidentally, even sharper memories) will recognize an even earlier short in one of NBM's old porno anthologies. All of that stuff will be collected once this four-issue color run is completed, although if I'm reading this David Brothers interview correctly, the present 'miniseries' isn't so much a self-contained thing as a means of gauging how many issues of an ongoing series can realistically be released on a regular schedule before some extra time is needed. Preview; $3.99.
MAD's Greatest Artists: Mort Drucker: I mentioned this last week -- and just to get a leg up on next week, note that some shops might be getting in Ted May's new issue of Injury (#4) -- but here's a 272-page Running Press edition of collected works by the popular Drucker, maybe the most natural choice to draw parodies of Sylvia Kristel and/or James Bond. In fact, I'm pretty sure he handled both at some point in time; $30.00.
Prophet #30: Hey, why not double your Brandon Graham exposure with this special issue of the aforementioned Extreme Studios (re?)production, the first of the run combine contributions by more than one of the series' artists, each of which tend to adopt a different character's POV. So, the primary artist of this one is Giannis Milonogiannis, while Graham himself draws and colors other bits of the issue. Preview; $3.99.
Wolverine MAX #1: In keeping with this column's sworn mission to remain abreast of pockets of innovation in recent corporate superhero comics, I present to you a landmark we've been voyaging toward for 38 years: an ongoing series in which Wolverine can routinely say "fuck." Man, couldn't they hold off until the ruby jubilee in '14? Still, this Jason Starr-written project does promise art by Roland Boschi & Connor Willumsen, the former a seasoned Marvel violence specialist and the latter a young CCS Fellow (and graduate of Frank's correspondence course) who scored a bunch of superhero-related attention with an issue of Untold Tales of the Punisher MAX (#2) earlier this year. Preview; $3.99.
Gantz Vol. 25: The other week I was talking with friends (okay, the Parole Office) about Osamu Tezuka's Barbara, and the topic of Tezuka's drawings of women came up. Specifically, how, in his apparent desire to be take seriously as an adult artist, Tezuka would insert all of these would-be lusty images of the title girl's body, his intent perpetually foiled by the fact that Tezuka could not easily convey a visceral lust from the artistic toolkit he had built up to that point. We immediately settled on "the guy from Gantz" as someone who could easily convey visceral lust, all the while acknowledging that Tezuka's relative restraint does make the many, many sequences of Barbara getting walloped in the face a little easier to digest, whereas a comic from the guy from Gantz centered in large part around women being punched would probably be the most intolerable thing conceivable within, unfortunately, some realm of possibility. Anyway, here's the new Gantz, to slake your thirst for Gantz. Preview; $12.99.
Tharg's Creepy Chronicles: Another Simon & Schuster compilation of 2000 AD material, this time 144 pages' worth of irregular horror shorts that occasionally fill the space set aside for Future Shocks or some other one-off feature. I think there's a Gordon Rennie/Frazer Irving mock anti-marijuana short in here that's both funny and illustrative of the sort of 'mature' content you can get away with in an ostensibly youth-focused comics magazine outside the U.S.; $19.99.
The Art of Judge Dredd: Meanwhile, Rebellion has its own release for the week - a 272-page, 9" x 12 1/4" hardcover collection of Dredd-focused cover images from the 35-year history of 2000 AD, with commentaries and stuff from various parties; $68.00.
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited: Finally, your book-on-comics for the week - a PS Artbooks release from a while ago, it seems, now released to U.S. comic stores, 200+ pages concerning the works of the Dan Dare creator and all-around British comics icon. Official site; $47.99.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Oh boy is there a lot of stuff in here. Might as well start off with The Lost Art of Ah Pook Is Here: Images From the Graphic Novel, a 168-page hardcover suite of materials composed by artist Malcolm McNeill for an aborted '70s book collaboration with William S. Burroughs; $39.99. The Burroughs stuff will not be included in that book, although interested parties may nonetheless want to check out Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me, a new 192-page memoir by McNeill detailing their creative relationship; $29.99. Elsewhere, Lewis Trondheim sees a new (est. 2011) French series released for English delectation with Ralph Azham Vol. 1: Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love?, a 96-page, 8.5" x 6.625" landscape hardcover; $14.99. And Carol Tyler wraps up her hugely admired familial biography series with You'll Never Know Vol. 3 (of 3): Soldier's Heart; $24.99.
That sure was a lot of comics to cram into the final paragraph. Should I end this on an action scene?