Last weekend Team K went to London for a weekend break. And the first thing Number One Son and I did was to make a beeline for our favourite comic shops, starting with Gosh!. I didn’t buy much, but everything I did get was killer gear. First I picked up The Sinners, the latest in the series of Criminal books by two of my fave comic creators, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. I also picked up the fourth edition of E C Segar’s Popeye by Fantagraphics Books. But by far the most exciting thing I got was Death Day by the fabulous Samuel Hiti.
I bought Death Day Prologue back in March this year on another Team K London outing and after reading the first three episodes online at Sam Hiti’s website I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a print version. So when I entered Gosh! and saw the beautifully slipcased wraparound cover version on the shelf I seized it immediately. Death Day concerns the war effort of soldiers fighting the mysterious Black Orb and the hideous six-limbed monsters that defend it (there’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil it for you, dear reader). Hiti takes his time telling the story using many silent panels and a multi-perspective narrative to establish this terrifying world and in doing so completely draws the reader into his tale. I am crazy about his illustrations – raw, inky and spontaneous – as I am his fantastic designs for the soldiers, their technology and the horrifying world on which they find themselves. And check out Death Day behind the Scenes for more Hiti goodness.
If you’re looking for something to cheer you up today, look no further than Cowboy Henk. Hailing from Belgium, he is the brainchild of co-creators Kamagurka and Herr Seele. I cannot believe I have never come across Cowboy Henk before, especially as he celebrates his thirtieth birthday next year and if it wasn’t for a tweet by @johnmartz this week, maybe I never would have.
Cowboy Henk is beautifully drawn in a style that harks back to the golden age of American newspaper dailies, which makes his oddball adventures even funnier. If you want to see more, take a look at the first two pages of ginettesqulette’s photostream or buy a Cowboy Henk album from amazon.com (sadly, amazon.co.uk didn’t seem to have any).
Last week I met my comics purchasing partner in crime, Mr Mark Wild, at the Barney Bubbles PROCESS show at Chelsea Space. Featuring Bubbles’ artwork, sketchbooks and related epherema, it examines the working practices of this long lost genius. I will never have enough space, anywhere, to fully explain my genuine love and admiration for his work. As well as being a brilliant thinker, Barney Bubbles was also a master craftsman, creating designs for reproduction without the visual feedback afforded by a computer. I wonder what a lot of younger designers think on seeing his original artwork, created as it was using Rotring technical pens with PMT’s (Photo Mechanical Transfers) pasted onto artboard with colour overlays in black (no matter what the colour specified) and little notes all over it with instructions to the printers. How strange it all must seem to these digital designers of today!
The show is curated by Paul Gorman, author of the Bubbles monograph, Reasons To Be Cheerful (which has since been revised and expanded) and it runs until October 23. For more Bubbles info, check out Reasons To Be Cheerful online and the blog of Bubbles’ old friend and ex-colleague, David Wills.