In a desperate attempt to catch up with the HUGE pile of unread comics that I've accumulated, I'm reading three trades (Jack Staff volume 1, Hellblazer: Fear Machine and Bullet Points) at the same time as the first volume of Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus.
Kirby's Fourth World stuff is (surprise, surprise) absolutely bonkers. There's a fucked up idea every three panels, and the whole thing is written in bizarre hipstereese: "like wild daddio. Dive in my Boom Tube and groove on over to the Fear Factory".
Nice package though. DC have chosen to reprint the comics on matt paper which lends the collection an authentic air that the glossy Marvel Omnibuses don't have. And you know, even if old Jack was a 50 year old trying to sound like an LSD loving hippie when he wrote these tales, the pages still have that Kirby crackle about them.
Bullet Points is a bit "myerr". Nice art by Tommy Lee Edwards (obv), but there's nothing particularly exciting about Straczzzzzzzzynski's What If style story.
Fear Machine is top. I'll write something more detailed about it when I finish it.
Jack Staff? Well, anything that features a vampire hunting Steptoe and Son is immune from criticism. Great stuff.
Obviously I'm also ploughing my way through the backlog of single issues, listening to various comic podcasts and stroking my Devil Dinosaur Heroclix whenever the mood takes me.
On the single issue front, I'd heartily recommend Marvel Mythos: Captain America by Paul Jenkins and Paolo Rivera. It's a poignant retelling of Cap's origin which features some incredible art by Rivera. I liked it so much that I made enquiries about buying a page from the comic, unfortunately Paul Jenkins has already snapped up the one I wanted. Gahhh!
Podcast wise I've been impressed by Alex Fitch's show, Panel Borders. It's a bit like John Siuntres's American Podcast Word Balloon, except with a British slant. CHECK IT OUT. I recommend starting with Alex's excellent interview with Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen.
Elsewhere I've been listening and reading with interest as comic fandom in its many guises pays "tribute" to Michael Turner. Has there been one podcaster or blogger who hasn't prefixed their tribute to the man with the words "His art wasn't to my taste, but..."?
Honestly, a lot of people had a real downer on the man's work, me included. I just don't understand why some of those people now feel it necessary to mark his death with tributes that contain provisos. Better just to say nothing isn't it? Except, of course, I just have. Bollocks. Oh well, RIP Michael Turner, his art wasn't to my taste but...