Sunday, May 15, 2016

Incoming Books: Week of 5/15

I've bought some stuff by mail recently -- one order from my regular comic shop after a badly-planned stop on Free Comic Book Day that sent me back out the door empty-handed, and some random stuff from that big Internet store since I was ordering a new mouse anyway -- and so I'll tell you all about it here.

(I've never mentioned when I get music, even though I buy as much of that as books, probably. I'm geeky about music in slightly different ways, though, and I don't know how to write about music, so it tends to get forgotten here. But, what the hell -- I also got Richard Thompson's Acoustic Classics and Sling Shot to Heaven from Margot & the Nuclear So And So's.)

The most important of the books is a little thing called Black Seas of Infinity, a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories published by the SF Book Club in 2001 and complied by a guy named Andrew Wheeler. (Yes, me -- not one of the myriad others this time.) I might give this to my second son as his summer reading this year, so I needed a copy. I had five or so after I left the club, but the flood of '11 killed them all.

For some reason, I've been thinking about "it was a dark and stormy night" recently -- the Peanuts version, I mean. That reminded me that Snoopy and "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night", a book from 1971 by Charles Schulz that's an independent version of the beagle's novelistic work. And so I bought that, too.

And then there was Charles Stross's The Annihilation Score, last year's new "Laundry Files" book. It's out now in mass-market, but I don't like mass-markets, so it was a good time to get a remaindered hardcover.

And then there was the stuff from the comics shop -- which, frustratingly, didn't include any of the books I picked up in the store and didn't buy because of the long lines -- because those things didn't show up on the online store. (There was The bus 2 and Don't Get Eaten by Anything and I can't remember what else.) Yes, online and in-person commerce don't always match, but being completely disjoint is pretty annoying. But here's what I did find online:

Founding Fathers Funnies, a collection of short Peter Bagge strips from various places about the wacky hijinks of the Revolutionary War heroes.

Giant Days, Vol. 2, the second collection of the college-set comic by John (Bad Machinery) Allison and Lissa Treiman, which is loosely related to Allison's Tackleford-set webcomics. (Esther De Groot is one of the main characters, but it takes place away from Tackleford and the timeline is a bit squishy -- Giant Days seems to be set "now," but it fits in chronologically around the mid-aughts in Allison's other work.) Anyway, it's a fun comic, and Allison writes great dialogue and wonderfully real young women.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye looks to be one of the big comics of the year, a pseudo-retrospective of the work of Singapore's greatest (and entirely fictional) cartoonist. It's by Sonny Liew, who has been a gorgeous inventive artist for a long time (most recently seen, by me at least, in The Shadow Hero) but who I haven't seen write any serious comics before. By all accounts, and quick glance myself, this is big and meaty and interesting and metafictional and deeply informed -- Liew is Malaysian himself, so this is a story about his immediate world. I'm looking forward to this.

The Eltingville Club collects all of Evan Dorkin's scabrous stories of the world's worst, most horrible and emotionally stunted group of fans, the ultimate (and deeply informed) middle finger to the Wednesday Crowd. I wish Dorkin would work more -- I understand drawing causes him pain these days, so I guess I wish either it didn't, or that he'd create a hugely popular TV show, like a number of his acolytes have, and get famous and successful that way -- but everything puts out is worth reading, and his art has always had a nasty, cutting brilliance.

Bloom County: The Complete Library, Volume 4 is by Berkeley Breathed, of course. I don't have volume 3, so this will have to sit and wait to be read sometime later -- but the comics here are already thirty years old, so another year or three won't hurt them none.

And last is something else from our friend John Allison: Bad Machinery, Volume 5: The Case of the Fire Inside. It's the latest collection of his main current webcomic, and you're probably sick of me telling you how brilliant he is. Well, he's still brilliant, so I won't stop saying it.

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